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The Vanuatu government is seeking an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legal responsibility of countries to act on climate change. This will provide clarity on loss and damage finance and could catalyse powerful legal tools that hold polluters accountable. Human rights can be a valuable framing for calling attention to and addressing loss and damage, but there remains limited scholarship so far. Here we explore how climate change is impinging on the rights of Ni-Vanuatu and what can be done in response. Our findings show that loss and damage to fundamental rights is already occurring and will worsen, undermining the right to a life of dignity. The future loss and damage fund, and other initiatives, should integrate a human rights restoration package that includes recording and safeguarding Indigenous knowledge, promoting cultural continuity, restoring the socio-ecological system, building back better and investing in education.

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This database records litigation (including settled cases and court orders) on issues of climate change in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. It encompasses cases across several different substantive categories including:

  1. Project Approval (mitigation) cases.
  2. Project Approval (adaptation) cases.
  3. Corporate Accountability cases.
  4. Constitutional and Human Rights / State Accountability cases.
  5. Cases that broaden access to justice in climate cases.

The remaining carbon budget (RCB), the net amount of CO2 humans can still emit without exceeding a chosen global warming limit, is often used to evaluate political action against the goals of the Paris Agreement. RCB estimates for 1.5 °C are small, and minor changes in their calculation can therefore result in large relative adjustments. Here we evaluate recent RCB assessments by the IPCC and present more recent data, calculation refinements and robustness checks that increase confidence in them. We conclude that the RCB for a 50% chance of keeping warming to 1.5 °C is around 250 GtCO2 as of January 2023, equal to around six years of current CO2 emissions. For a 50% chance of 2 °C the RCB is around 1,200 GtCO2. Key uncertainties affecting RCB estimates are the contribution of non-CO2 emissions, which depends on socioeconomic projections as much as on geophysical uncertainty, and potential warming after net zero CO2.

Authors: Lamboll, R.D., Nicholls, Z.R.J., Smith, C.J. et al.

Governments and international organizations are increasingly using public funds to mobilize and leverage private finance for climate projects in the Global South. An important international organization in the effort to mobilize the private sector for financing climate mitigation and adaptation in the Global South is the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The GCF was established under the UNFCCC in 2010 and is the world’s largest dedicated multilateral climate fund. The GCF differs from other intergovernmental institutions through its fund-wide inclusion of the private sector, ranging from project design and financing to project implementation. In this paper, we investigate private sector involvement in the GCF through a qualitative exploratory research approach. We ask two main questions: Do private sector projects deliver on their ambitious goals? What are the tensions, if any, between private sector engagement and other principles of the GCF (most importantly the principles of country ownership, mitigation/adaptation balance, transparency, and civil society participation)? This paper argues that private sector involvement does not provide an easy way out of the financial constraints of public climate financing. We show that the GCF fails to deliver on its ambitious goals in private sector engagement for a number of reasons. First, private sector interest in GCF projects is thus far underwhelming. Second, there are strong tradeoffs between private sector projects and the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) principles of country ownership, transparency, and civil society participation. Third, private sector involvement is creating a mitigation bias within the GCF portfolio. Fourth, while the private sector portfolio is good at channeling funds to particularly vulnerable countries, it does so mostly through large multi-country projects with weak country ownership. Fifth, there is a danger that private climate financing based on loans and equity might add to the debt burden of developing countries, destabilize financial markets, and further increase dependency on the Global North.

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