Center for Global Affairs
Climate Justice and Climate Finance
This course seeks to help students gain a better understanding of the evolving, complex landscape of climate finance which involves many varied sources and institutions, financial instruments, and approaches to fund climate mitigation and adaptation. The United Nations estimates that climate adaptation aid will need to rise to between $160 billion and $340 billion between now and 2030, up from $24 billion currently being spent. Monies for global investment in clean energy is equally challenging, with between $600 billion and $900 billion a year being spent, mainly in the industrialized world, versus capital requirements of over $2.6 billion annually if we are to meet net zero by 2050. The impact of inaction is uneven. Roughly 80 percent of people displaced by climate change are women and girls. Island nations and low-income, low lying coastal countries such as Bangladesh are bearing the brunt of a changing climate, even though they contribute only miniscule greenhouse gases to the global cumulative accumulation in the atmosphere. This one-week intensive course will explore the writings and speeches of important climate justice advocates and pair their perspectives with the opportunities and challenges set forth in the evolving world of global climate finance. Students will also familiarize themselves with the challenge of energy poverty in the United States and internationally and consider the policy options to remedy systemic social and economic barriers that contribute to lack of access to affordable and readily available energy for heating, cooling, and transport. Through a combination of lectures, guest speakers, multi-media, in-class exercises, student-led case study investigations, and discussion, students will gain deeper knowledge of this most challenging aspect of climate change policy and its relevance to global climate negotiations. Key readings will be assigned in the areas of public climate finance (including reform of multilateral development finance institutions), voluntary carbon offset and compulsory carbon pollution allowance markets, and the role of private sector finance.