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Philanthropy to play key role in negating climate threat

Badr Jafar says that philanthropists can help turn the corner on climate change World Economic Forum/Valeriano Di Domenico
Badr Jafar, seen here at the World Economic Forum, says that philanthropists could help turn the corner on climate change
  • Badr Jafar says trillion-dollar industry could be the ‘glue’
  • Onlt 2 percent of philanthropic funds go to climate
  • Net Zero 2050 requires $275 trillion investment

The trillion dollar philanthropy industry can be the “glue” that brings together governments and the private sector in the global fight against climate change, according to the special representative for business and philanthropy at this month’s Cop28.

Speaking at the Dubai Business Forum this week, Badr Jafar, who is also CEO of Crescent Enterprises, explained that of the $2 trillion that philanthropy delivers annually, less than 2 percent ($810 billion in 2021) is directed towards climate adaptation and mitigation solutions.

“It is a pin prick in terms of what is required to turn the corner on many of these climate challenges,” he said.

Analysis from consultants McKinsey suggests that the Net Zero 2050 scenario would require spending on physical assets of about $275 trillion between 2021 and 2050 – about 7.5 percent of global GDP over the period.

Cop28 president Dr Sultan Al Jaber has called for a collaborative approach to reduce emissions by 43 percent in the next seven years, through a combination of public, private and philanthropic sources.

He said: “Philanthropy has a crucial role; [philanthropists can] raise awareness on climate issues, they can convene as a neutral partner and bring risk-free capital to fund climate opportunities. 

“More importantly, they can be nimble and help fast-track solutions especially when partnering with public and private funders.”

Climate change is predicted to cost the world 5 to 10 percent of global GDP, amounting to $5 trillion-$10 trillion each year.

“I like to see it [philanthropy] as the glue that can combine with business and government capital to create and generate that multiplier and vital impact and that’s no different in the climate space,” said Jafar.

Royal address

It was announced this week that the UK’s monarch King Charles III is to deliver an opening address at the Cop28 summit.

King Charles is also due to attend a reception on November 30 to launch the inaugural Cop28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum. 

The two-day forum, which will run in parallel with the World Climate Action Summit, is being hosted by the Cop28 presidency in partnership with the global Sustainable Markets Initiative, which was set up by the king when he was Prince Charles, during the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos.