How to politically proof your climate action plan and navigate the climate funding landscape

The urgency of addressing climate change has led to a surge in climate action initiatives worldwide. While the success of these initiatives hinges on various factors, securing funding stands out as a critical element. Here's the thing: The successful implementation of climate initiatives relies heavily on the allocation and availability of funds, which is largely influenced by governments' political determination.

Yes, changes in government policies do affect climate initiatives

A significant part of climate funding comes from the public sector. However, political changes can impact governments' ability to allocate resources, including funds for addressing climate change. Several factors, such as leadership changes, policy priorities shifts, economic crises, and geopolitical tensions, contribute to this. The uncertainty associated with politics can create challenges for sustained and adequate climate funding. This said, we need solutions that can minimize the effect of political swings and their impact on the potential lack of continuity in climate funding. For example, grants like the Climate Pollution Reduction Program (CPRG) in the USA, providing $250 million in planning grants and $4.6 billion in implementation grants to state and regionally, hold enormous impact. However, the continuity of such programs might be in question if the next government does not place as high a priority on climate action.

In democratic nations, a newly elected government formed by political parties promising economic priorities to their voter base may sometimes compromise climate funding without necessarily opposing climate actions. For instance, in Finland, the national climate law has a net-zero target for 2035 and therefore initially mandated and allocated funding for municipalities to develop climate action plans. However, the new government elected this year estimates that the target can be reached without mandatory municipal action plans and has removed their funding as part of an expense reduction strategy.

Moreover, when climate actions become linked to a specific political spectrum, initiatives and funding may experience a surge in support when the associated party holds executive power. Nevertheless, any subsequent election resulting in a power shift to a party or political spectrum misaligned with these climate actions could halt previously approved funding and programs.


How can we minimize the effects of political instability?

To minimize the effects of political instability on climate funding, cities can consider several solutions:

  • International Collaboration: Participation in collaboration within nations nations and international organizations can help create a more stable funding environment. Agreements, treaties, and partnerships focused on climate action can provide a framework for sustained commitment regardless of domestic political changes.
  • Establishing Independent Funds: Seeking for independent funds dedicated to climate change mitigation and adaptation, managed by reputable international bodies or organizations, can insulate climate funding from domestic political fluctuations. There is an increasing amount of funding that operates with a long-term perspective, ensuring consistency in addressing climate challenges.
  • Engaging Civil Society and Businesses: Involving non-governmental entities, such as civil society organizations and businesses, in climate funding initiatives can help diversify and stabilize financial support. These entities may be more resilient to short-term political changes and can contribute to a more sustainable funding landscape.
  • Awareness and Advocacy: Building public awareness and support for climate action can influence political will and create pressure for sustained funding, irrespective of political transitions. Advocacy efforts and foundations can help maintain a focus on climate change as a critical issue that transcends political boundaries.
  • Institutionalizing Climate Policies: Embedding climate policies and funding commitments within national and international frameworks such as reporting to CDP can provide continuity that transcends political cycles. This institutionalization helps ensure that climate change remains a priority regardless of changes in government.

It's essential to note that the effectiveness of these solutions may vary based on each city's and country's specific political and cultural context. Adapting strategies to local conditions and fostering a global commitment to addressing climate change can contribute to more resilient and stable climate funding mechanisms.


How can Kausal address the challenge of effectively communicating to the public?

Let's discuss crafting effective public communications when funding for an action is depleted or ceases. A viable approach involves updating the funding status on a publicly accessible website, where actions are routinely monitored and communicated.

In this scenario, the action's status could be explicitly labeled as 'late' or 'stalled,' with the accompanying reason stated as 'cancellation of funding as mandated by the new government.' This becomes particularly pertinent when the original funding source is at a higher jurisdiction level, such as federal or national. At the same time, the action is executed and monitored at a lower jurisdiction level, like state, region, or city. By making this information transparent, it has the potential to galvanize public activism in response to such decisions. Citizens might rally against the funding cancellation, and this transparency could serve as a catalyst, motivating local stakeholders, whether public or private, to step forward and provide the necessary funds to sustain the ongoing actions.

Publishing a climate action plan with Kausal makes it more effective to communicate the actions to the public. This way, the public can also closely follow information on the required funding amount and status. The current status is considered late, with the primary reason being the discontinuation of funding by the federal government. The more the public is engaged, the more public pressure not to reverse the plan or cut the funding. It could also spur new local initiatives to fund the under-funded actions.

With Kausal, one could also see which actions take priority better when there isn't enough funding for all actions in the plan. It also allows citizens to see the impacts of removing some actions and thus be more motivated to protest or take initiative.

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