Insights from the Research Team

Erik Bergman challenges you to tackle climate change with €1 million match pot

Published on
2020-10-23
Written by
Johannes Ackva
Anu Khan
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We are excited to announce that our €1 million match pot generously provided by Erik Bergman has been filled! Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Founders Pledge Climate Fund, with a special thank you to Erik for helping us maximize impact and take meaningful action to reduce global emissions.


We recently launched our new Climate Change Fund, a way for our members to pool their giving and invest in the future of our planet. Thanks to the drive of our members and their strong commitment to tackle climate change, we’re thrilled to announce that we now have $1 million in our Climate Change Fund to invest in high-impact climate solutions. With the help of an anonymous donor who matched contributions up to a value of $500,000, our Fund was able to reach this incredible figure just days after the official launch!

Now, we are very excited to tell you that we have secured another match fund! Founders Pledge member Erik Bergman, founder of Catena Media and Great.com, is generously offering to match contributions to our Climate Change Fund up to €1 million (the equivalent of $1,200,000 or £900,000) until December 31! Erik is challenging FP members, the public and his wealthy friends to make him give to combat climate change. You can read his message below.

TO MY WEALTHY FRIENDS.

I’m asking for your help.

Climate change is slowly kicking our asses and I struggle to motivate myself to take action. Instead I’m thinking to myself, “I’m a good person, I will help...some day…”

I’ve done the research. I’ve spoken to the experts. This is the best thing to do:

Donating money towards advocacy for advanced technologies that are crucial but neglected in the overall climate conversation...

  • Replacing diesel engines with zero-emission ammonia engines in cruise liners and the shipping industry.
  • Creating tax benefits for coal and gas plants that capture their carbon emissions, to give financial incentives to use new technology which in turn drives down cost and enables global climate action.
  • Increasing the speed at which the new generation of super-safe nuclear power plants are developed and built.

This can easily be done via the Founders Pledge Climate Fund. They evaluate climate initiatives and then distribute the donations to the most trusted and best alternatives.

I know how to solve the problem. Still I don't take action and donate.

Right now, I'm doing NOTHING. You can force me to give ONE MILLION EUROS.

HERE'S MY CHALLENGE TO YOU - PUSH ME!

This is a promise. I will double all donations being made to the Climate Fund between today and 31st December 2020. Up to €1 million. If you take action and donate €100,000, I have to double it and donate €100,000 as well. If you take action and donate €10,000. I have to do the same.

We are all entrepreneurs, we take action, we solve problems, we take responsibility. Sometimes we compete in business, but in this one we are all together.

How do I donate?

If you are a Founders Pledge member passionate about investing in effective climate solutions and you’d like to challenge Erik to give, please contact funds@founderspledge.com. Once you commit to co-funding, your money will be pooled with others to truly boost your impact on climate change. Our dedicated Fund Managers, Johannes Ackva and Anu Khan, will make regular grants from the Fund to high-impact opportunities in the climate space, aiming to tackle not only climate change but the issues of harmful air pollution and energy poverty too.

If you are not a Founders Pledge member and would like to donate, you can do so via EA funds for donations of less than $10,000, or by emailing funds@founderspledge.com for donations of $10,000 or over. If you donate via EA funds, please forward your donation receipt to funds@founderspledge.com in order to be eligible for Erik’s match.

Giving through our Fund is simple and hassle-free, and you can trust that your contribution will be distributed to some of the highest-impact organisations in the climate space. Sample organisations include the Clean Air Task Force, Carbon180 and TerraPraxis. You can learn more about our Climate Change Fund here.

What makes our Climate Change Fund special?

At Founders Pledge, we are laser-focused on having the biggest positive impact we can. When it comes to our Climate Change Fund, this strategy can be distilled into what we call the “ABC of high-impact climate philanthropy”. In other words, we’re focused on (1) funding audacious advocacy, (2) tackling blindspots and bottlenecks and (3) doing so in a coordinated manner through the Climate Change Fund. Read on to learn more or watch our video explainer here.

Audacious advocacy

We fund organisations that are thought-leaders and advocates influencing both the wider climate conversation and how government and private budgets on climate are being spent. A focus on advocacy can make your dollars go much much further than funding projects that aim to reduce emissions directly. After all, addressing climate requires a large-scale societal response. The climate budgets of governments and corporations needed to achieve climate targets are about 1,000 times larger than total current climate philanthropy1, making supporting advocacy the only plausible strategy to have a large positive impact through your giving.

We don’t just support advocacy, we support audacious advocacy. This means we seek to fund advocacy focused on bold solutions and approaches that can truly make a big difference. This will often, though not always, be advocacy for policies that have an outsized effect through not only reducing emissions in a jurisdiction but by driving cost reductions and performance improvements of low-carbon technologies, allowing a global impact much larger than what has been achieved locally. This is what some climate leaders such as Germany, Denmark and California have done for solar, wind power, and electric cars. Now we need to make it happen for all the other necessary climate solutions, which brings us to the second part of our ABC: bottlenecks and blindspots.

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Bottlenecks and blindspots

We fund organisations that focus on overlooked but critically required pieces of the climate puzzle. Erik’s post mentions some of these -- such as the decarbonisation of shipping and fossil power plants, as well as carbon removal and advanced nuclear power. We discuss them in more detail here.

All of these solutions receive far less attention and support than they deserve based on their potential and/or necessity. So, by focusing on these approaches, we have a much higher chance of creating impact that wouldn’t have been achieved without us. This makes our work -- as early work tends to be -- especially impactful. The climate challenge requires us to get to net-zero emissions to stabilise global temperatures, and focusing on overlooked solutions and sectors will help us reach this goal.

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Coordination through co-funding

The C of our ABC stands for both coordination and co-funding. Coming together and co-funding through the Founders Pledge Climate Change Fund provides yet another impact multiplier in the fight against climate change. Not only does it give charities more certainty, it creates larger overall sums, and allows us to react to time-sensitive funding opportunities that might be missed with a smaller, single donation.

If, like us, you’re passionate about ending the climate crisis, reducing air pollution and ensuring the world’s poor have access to the energy they need, we invite you to think about taking on Erik’s exciting challenge and giving through our Climate Change Fund. As our ABC of high-impact climate philanthropy shows, your donation will have an outsized impact and help tackle climate change head-on. If you’re a Founders Pledge member interested in learning more or co-funding through our Climate Change Fund, please contact funds@founderspledge.com. With $1 million already raised, we can’t wait to see what our Fund achieves in the coming months and years!

Notes


  1. The OECD estimates that $6.9 trillion per year is required to meet the Paris Agreement goals. In 2019, philanthropic funding for climate change mitigation was $5 billion to $9 billion (ClimateWorks, 2020), about 1/1000 of that. This makes it abundantly clear that philanthropy to solve the challenge needs to focus on advocacy -- increasing and improving how societal resources are being spent -- rather than direct emissions reductions. 

Johannes Ackva

Author

Johannes has dedicated much of his adult life to this topic. From a teenage environmental activist to a climate policy expert advising major EU decision makers, Johannes is committed to solving the problem of global energy poverty, while simultaneously reaching net-zero emissions and protecting our planet.

Prior to joining Founder Pledge, Johannes spent five years working in a think tank advising decision makers on climate policy, and conducting academic research into the intersection between effective and feasible climate policies.

Anu Khan

Author

Anu is our San Francisco-based Research Advisor. Prior to joining Founders Pledge, Anu was a materials science and engineering researcher at Northwestern University and Caltech. Her work focused on high-temperature electrocatalysts for fuel cells and direct solar-to-chemical energy conversion, both clean energy technologies for a hydrogen-friendly energy economy. She transitioned from academic research to Founders Pledge to understand and address the broader challenges in the climate space. She received her MS in chemistry from Caltech and her AB in chemistry from Princeton.