The Obama administration has announced private-sector commitments totaling $4 billion in support of efforts to scale clean energy innovations aimed at reducing the effects of climate change.
Announced at the Clean Energy Investment Summit at the White House on Tuesday, the pledges from major foundations, institutions, and other long-term investors double the administration's initial $2 billion goal for the Clean Energy Investment Initiative it announced in February. Pledges include $31 million from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in impact investments to advance energy efficiency financing for multifamily housing, including $5 million each for Commons Energy L3C and the Connecticut Green Bank and $2.5 million each for the National Housing Trust/Enterprise Preservation Corporation and the Network for Oregon Affordable Housing. Other commitments include efforts by a consortium of pension funds and endowments — including $500 million from the University of California — to create a nonprofit investment intermediary to identify, screen, and assess companies and projects that could produce effective, profitable solutions, with the goal of catalyzing $2.5 billion in investments over five years. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, ClimateWorks, and other partners have pledged to provide funding in support of the intermediary's launch and initial operations.
Pledges also include commitments from members of Divest-Invest Philanthropy, a coalition of more than ninety foundations and other investors, to allocate at least 5 percent — and, in the case of the John Merck Fund, up to 100 percent — of their endowments to investments in new energy solutions over the next five years. Elsewhere, the PRIME Coalition, a nonprofit organization launched with the support of the Betsy and Jesse Fink Foundation, the Chesonis Family Foundation, Echoing Green, the Pritzker Innovation Fund, the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation, and others, will facilitate charitable investments in market-based solutions, with a focus on early-stage innovations that promise to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while Confluence Philanthropy, an alliance of two hundred foundations and advisors dedicated to mission-related investing, and the CREO Syndicate have announced a joint initiative to provide educational resources aimed at increasing their members' investments in climate solutions by at least 20 percent by 2020.
The White House also has announced executive actions aimed at encouraging clean energy investments, including new Treasury Department guidance on mission-related and program-related investments; the launch of a Clean Energy Impact Investment Center at the Department of Energy to disseminate information about government energy and climate programs; and improved financing options from the Small Business Administration for private investment funds seeking long-term capital, including early-stage investors in capital-intensive clean energy technologies.