Philanthropy is uniquely positioned to quickly scale climate solutions to create a cleaner, safer and more equitable future for all. Donors can fund research, help jobs and communities transition, invest in technology development, and support policies to encourage governments and consumers. Climate experts often view solutions to the crisis through three lenses, each with specific impact: sectors, regions and enabling levers.


Several sectors provide opportunities for donors to fund work and support organisations to reduce climate pollution. Examples of opportunities in these include transitioning to renewable energy sources for transportation systems, industrial and manufacturing processes, and heating and cooling. They also include protecting forests and grasslands and stopping methane from escaping into the atmosphere, while investing in regenerative farming practices to ensure the global demand for food is met sustainably.





Land Use



The scope and scale of impact for each of these sectors are different in every region of the world. It is essential to consider local contexts and priorities in order to strategically fund projects that stand to create the most change. In China and India, for example, it is critical to transition to clean fuels and power to meet rising energy demands. In Brazil and Indonesia, forest protection requires urgent philanthropic support and resources. And in the global strategy to stop coal, Southeast Asia is the last frontier for coal power plant demand and development. Seven geographies and five sectors have the potential to deliver 75% of the emissions reductions we need to meet our 2050 climate goals and avoid the worst impacts of an overheated planet. While a few climate scenarios exist, all models agree that China, India, the U.S. and the E.U. are the most critical regions to focus efforts today in order to win the climate fight.

Enabling Levers


In addition to the sectors and regions, scientists and NGOs work to solve the climate crisis by building in “enabling levers” to help move climate solutions. These include policy change, strategic communications, strategic litigation, transition for communities, movement building, coalition building, and political advocacy.

Emissions reduction efforts across all sectors and regions can be amplified by funding these key levers and creating leverage points for broad systems change. We have seen time and again how relatively modest philanthropic investments can break through market and political inaction and create outsized impact. When coupled with a systems-level strategy, donor dollars have had an exponential impact and made a global transition to a sustainable future increasingly achievable. For example, philanthropy helped two Girl Scouts pressure Kellogg to switch to deforestation-free palm oil and expose falsified emissions tests by Volkswagen causing a worldwide shift to electric mobility,

CLI advises donors on the key sectors, geographies and enabling levers to apply their philanthropic giving in the most strategic and impactful way. Please contact us to learn more.