Friday, February 8, 2019

                                      WINTER LIGHT?

 Winter 2019                                           

Looming over the momentum achieved by philanthropists
and their grantees are the conclusions of the 2018
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change...most of the
IPCC scenarios along with numerous other expert projections
call for not only the massive expansion of renewable energy,
but also major investments in nuclear energy, carbon capture 

and storage, negative emissions technologies, and research 
evaluating geoengineering options.

Such scenarios directly challenge the foundation world’s
deeply institutionalized patterns of spending. In the years
leading up to the 2016 elections, funders almost exclusively
backed grantees that aligned with their long-standing
commitment to renewable energy, channeling more than
half of the $556 million in grants distributed to just 20
organizations. As a consequence, only $1.3 million in grants
supported development of carbon capture and storage. And
out of 2,502 grants, not a single one focused on keeping
existing US nuclear energy power plants open or on boosting
development of advanced nuclear technologies. Nor did a
single grant finance efforts to establish federal funding for
geoengineering research or negative emissions technology.

Over the next few years, foundations will also face difficult
political choices in their grant making. Campaigns waged
by their grantees among environmentalists and progressives
opposing natural gas fracking, oil and gas pipelines, and
nuclear energy plants, along with new “intersectional” causes
related to race, ethnicity, and gender, are likely to amplify
political polarization and serve as potent rallying points for
Republican donors and activists opposed to climate change

There are, however, important signs of change ...The 

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has over the
past few years provided grants...“on energy solutions that
resonate with center-right interests, including mitigation
technologies such as carbon capture and storage and 

advanced nuclear..."

Matthew C. Nisbet is a professor of communication, public 
policy, and urban affairs at Northeastern University, and 
writes regularly at www.wealthofideas.or