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Climate Finance

Financial flows aligned with the Paris Agreement are nowhere near what is needed to achieve the just transition to a sustainable, net zero, and climate-resilient future. Recent estimates suggest that $125 trillion of climate investment is needed by 2050 to meet global net zero targets.

The polycrises – the Covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the high inflation caused by energy and food insecurity, and the resulting rising interest rates – have exacerbated the need for further financing of the transition, while the call for reforming the international financial architecture is gaining momentum.

We focus on the role that finance must play in changing behaviour and driving financial flows towards a net zero economy.

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Key challenges

  • Finance is not flowing to the right projects, nor at the right scale. This is aggravated by an outdated International Financial Architecture which means that the infrastructure to support flows, particularly to the Global South, is ineffective.
  • Global inequality is rising. Climate measures that don’t effectively consider social justice issues and unintended consequences can lead to backlash. Equally, given large flows of public and private finance are being mobilised for climate solutions, there’s an opportunity to build a more socially just Europe.
  • Whilst Europe is a leader on sustainable finance, there are still inadequate policies and regulation of the financial and corporate sectors which leads to a misalignment with net zero goals.
  • There are also gaps in climate data, analytics, methodologies, and the tools required to drive the financial system towards net zero. This leads to a lack of credible transition plans, and issues in scrutinising such plans.
  • Greenwashing is a serious barrier to progress. It represents the new climate denialism: weak net zero targets are made by companies with little to no evidence of how they will be implemented and limited regulatory scrutiny.
  • The green transition is capital intensive and requires large upfront investment in infrastructure. Yet the current economic environment of shrinking fiscal space, high global interest rates, and the ongoing cost of living crisis, is leading to increased pressure on public finances.
  • Politically, there’s been a serious erosion of trust between the Global North and the Global South around financing for the transition, exemplified by the inability for richer nations to deliver on their $100 billion pledge, promised in Copenhagen in 2009.


The ECF wants to ensure that the global financial system is transformed to make financial flows consistent with a 1.5-degree pathway and climate-resilient development.

We seek to achieve:

  • A significant increase in the quality and quantity of public and private Paris-aligned financial flows, particularly to the Global South
  • A net zero financial system which can manage its exposures to climate risks, minimise its negative impact on nature and scale up financing for the just transition
  • Knowledge gaps are addressed, and capacity is built in the financial sector, real economy, civil society and consumers to mobilise the trillions required to achieve a net zero financial system

How we work

The Climate Finance Programme works at the systemic level to drive change and ensure financial actors’ incentives are aligned with a just transition to a net zero world – from commercial banks to investors, multilateral development banks to consumers and civil society organisations – and we join efforts with the broader philanthropic ecosystem to ensure a greater impact.

Whilst we aim to achieve change globally, the strength of the ECF lies in its proximity to Europe, its deep expertise and large network of European partners. Europe is home to many globally significant financial centres (i.e., the UK, France, and Germany), and key European standard setters, particularly in the EU, who have been world-leading in their approach to climate finance.


Rachel Owens

Director, Climate Finance Programme

Stuart Cox

Manager, Climate Finance Programme

Ariane Joab-Cornu

Manager, Climate Finance Programme

Coralie Humbert

Senior Associate, Climate Finance Programme

Claire Lacoste

Senior Associate, Climate Finance Programme

Valentina Vivirito

Associate, Climate Finance

Alba Málaga Homs

Strategic Communications Lead, Climate Finance

Anna Defour

Grants Officer