By Ed Dean, Director of Development
Ashden passionately supports the call from UK scientists for UK philanthropy to step up its investment in climate causes. Given the extent of the emergency the planet faces and the impending impact of the climate crisis on UK citizens, that just 3% of giving goes to environmental causes is, quite literally, the tip of an iceberg (while the metaphor still has some meaning).
Not to say that there aren’t UK foundations doing great work on climate, funders like Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Mark Leonard Trust to name just two. But if we are to stand a fighting chance of keeping warming between 1.5 degrees, then we need many more UK funders investing to scale climate solutions, to ensure that a decarbonised society is also a just one.
The open letter states:
“As scientists across disciplines, we are writing to you to ask that you look at, reflect upon and then act with all possible resources to respond to the extraordinary ecological collapse that is happening now.
“The work that is being led to counter these threats is desperately under-funded and we are writing to request that you consider an extraordinary increase in your funding to these causes for this critical ten-year period.
“We are writing to implore you to urgently consider significant investment to prevent further ecological catastrophe – whether through your endowments, grant giving or personal wealth.
“There are many ways you could do this … from civil society and social movements, to green investment in research and innovation, to strategic litigation and public education, the communities working in this field are largely starved of the funding they need.
“The UK’s leadership role in the climate crisis in indubitable. If we can transition to a truly sustainable model it will influence and inform others around the world.
“We have written to you understanding that you will be stretched with the fantastic work you are already supporting. We still hope that you find space to acknowledge the gravity of the situation and respond in kind to prevent infinitely greater social need in the future.”
The letter was co-ordinated by Angela Terry, CEO and Founder of Climate Alliance, and signed by 11 of the UK's leading climate scientists. “The world is facing a perfect storm of challenges that together threaten the future of our society. But the work being led by the scientific community to counter these threats is desperately under-funded." Angela Terry.