Matthew C. Nisbet, ‘Strategic philanthropy in the post‐Cap‐and‐Trade years: Reviewing U.S. climate and energy foundation funding’

'For several decades, philanthropists in the United States have played a behind‐the‐scenes role in framing climate change as a social problem. These foundations have defined climate change primarily as a pollution problem solvable by enacting a price on carbon and by shifting markets in the direction of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency practices. Funding has favored “insider” groups that push for policy action by way of negotiation, coalition building, and compromise, rather than “outsider” groups that specialize in grassroots organizing. Philanthropists have also placed less priority on funding for other low‐carbon energy sources such as nuclear power, carbon capture and storage, or natural gas, nor have they invested in actions intended to boost societal resilience, protect public health, or to address questions of equity and justice. But in the years following the failure of the 2010 Federal cap and trade bill, a review of available grants from 19 major foundations indicates that philanthropists responded to calls for new directions. Funding shifted to focus on state‐ or municipal‐level mitigation and adaptation actions and to the needs of low‐income/minority communities. Significant funding was also devoted to mobilizing public opinion and to opposing the fossil fuel industry. Nearly a quarter of all funding, however, remained dedicated to promoting renewable energy and efficiency‐related actions with comparatively little funding devoted to other low‐carbon energy technologies. The review of past funding trends provides implications for assessing philanthropic strategy during the Donald J. Trump presidency and beyond.'WIREs Climate Change e524