Energy and Climate Strategies

To ensure that energy is produced and used cleanly and efficiently, with limited impacts on human health and the environment, and that global average temperatures increase less than 2°C to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

To achieve this goal, we invest in strategies in five related areas:

Reducing reliance on high-carbon energy
Our grantees’ efforts to reduce the development and use of fossil fuels are global, particularly with regard to high-carbon fuels. Their initiatives focus on ensuring that energy policies reduce the extraction and development of high-carbon fuels such as coal and tar sands in order to slow global warming and protect human health and the environment. Reducing the use of coal is essential to tackling climate change. Tar sands, a semisolid form of petroleum extracted from sand and rock, is a particularly inefficient fuel, generating up to a third more of greenhouse gas per barrel of final product than conventional oil does in a life-cycle assessment.

Increasing renewables
Our grantees also pursue policies that encourage the use of clean alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, and geothermal. They encourage alternative energy development in ways that protect clean air and water, habitats, and human health. Finally, they pursue efforts to promote policies that increase the use of renewable energy to help it compete with oil, gas, and coal.

Increasing efficiency
Our grantees help reduce energy consumption by supporting policies that make homes and businesses more energy efficient. They support policies to boost the efficiency of new and existing buildings, as well as to promote clean and efficient industrial processes. They also work to create incentives for utility companies to increase energy efficiency for homes and businesses and to use more energy from renewable sources.

Encouraging clean transportation
Our grantees work primarily in the United States, China, Brazil, and Mexico to increase the use of clean vehicles and clean fuels, and to reduce vehicle use. We fund organizations that pursue policies that raise fuel economy, implement emissions control standards, and clean fuels. We also support organizations that promote the use of clean public transportation and that work to plan and build cities designed for walking and biking, thereby reducing individual car trips. The success of these efforts is especially notable in the United States where the federal government passed the most aggressive standard for fuel economy for new cars in the world: 55 mpg by 2025. This policy will avoid the release of more than 300 million tons of CO2 by 2030.

Building broad support for expanding clean energy and reducing climate change
We realize that the goals of the Hewlett Foundation Environment Program must reflect varied experiences to be meaningful and achievable. With that in mind, we and our grantees work with a wide range of people and communities, including health professionals, business leaders, national security experts, and faith communities, among others.

The Environment Program accepts Letters of Inquiry for its Energy and Climate grantmaking. See Environment Program Grantseekers for information about our approach to grantmaking and Energy and Climate grant guidelines for specific information about our priorities.

While the Foundation's grants may be used to support public education, nonpartisan research and analysis, and permissible policy-related activities, the Foundation does not earmark its funds for IRS-defined lobbying activities, which is prohibited by federal law.