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Bloomberg Philanthropies and partners launch third annual FiRe climate finance challenge

October 13, 2015

Call for innovative ideas to open Nov. 9 in advance of Paris climate summit, ideas will boost investment in clean energy and sustainable cities

LONDON—Today, at the first European Regional Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) Summit in London, Bloomberg Philanthropies, BNEF, and Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) launched the third funding cycle for the Finance for Resilience (FiRe) initiative, an innovative platform to identify, launch, and scale up private sector financing mechanisms for climate-friendly projects worldwide.

As world leaders continue preparations for the international climate negotiations in Paris later this year, the issue of “climate finance” – how to bankroll low-carbon energy systems and infrastructure needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change – has emerged as a major subject of discussion. A recent OECD-CPI report found that finance mobilized by developed countries for climate action in developing countries reached $62 billion in 2014, making good progress toward the $100 billion annual goal pledged by rich countries at the 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen. However, experts at BNEF, the International Energy Agency, and the Global Commission on the Economy agree that the true scale of needed investment in low-carbon infrastructure over the coming decades is closer to $1 trillion per year, and that this capital will need to come largely from private sector investors, not taxpayer expenditures.

To accelerate private sector investment in climate-friendly projects, platforms like FiRe and the related initiative, Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance (The Lab), are crowdsourcing scalable ideas and helping provide implementation support to get them off the ground quickly.

“The shift to clean energy presents big opportunities for investment from the public and private sector – and if we’re going to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we have to find new ways to capitalize on those opportunities. Platforms like Finance for Resilience and the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance are an important part of the solution, and they’ll help show how fighting climate change and economic growth go hand in hand,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, and U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change.

Incubated over the past two years by BNEF, FiRe identifies, develops, and supports the implementation of scalable ideas to drive private climate investment. Through a competitive, open-source selection process, FiRe uses an expert advisory board of financial and climate policy experts to identify promising interventions and announces winners at the annual BNEF “Future of Energy” summit held each April in New York City.

Past FiRe winners have included Azuri Technologies, which is working to introduce an innovative debt facility to help expand the reach of pay-as-you-go solar systems in Africa; the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which, since winning FiRe, has secured additional funding to promote energy efficiency lending by commercial banks; and the Rocky Mountain Institute, which launched the Business Renewable Center in 2014 to help major corporations such as General Motors and Cisco switch to renewable energy sources.

This year, FiRe will be seeking new proposals for financial innovations in clean energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable cities in advance of December’s international climate negotiations in Paris. FiRe will formally open a call for new proposals on November 9, 2015 and details will be available at www.financeforresilience.com. The winning FiRe interventions will gain exposure, analytical support, and access to a wide range of high-level experts to support implementation over the course of a year-long cycle. As of this October, Climate Policy Initiative is taking over the secretariat functions of FiRe and will run the project, with the support of BNEF, Bloomberg Philanthropies and others, alongside and closely aligned with the Lab, for which it also serves as secretariat.

“It has been very gratifying to see the way both the FiRe platform and FiRe winners have taken off,” said Michael Liebreich, founder of BNEF, and chairman of the FiRe Advisory Board. “I look forward to working with Climate Policy Initiative, who will take FiRe to the next level in developing new ideas and supporting their implementation.”

Climate Policy Initiative is a leader in climate finance policy development. It has served as secretariat for the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance (the Lab), which launched a new cycle and call for ideas on October 7. Whereas the FiRe process is broad in geographic scope and focuses on private sector-led instruments and champions, the Lab is focused on instruments more likely to need public finance or public finance institutions to catalyze private finance – specifically in developing and emerging economies.

“As the world transitions to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy, new, innovative, and actionable interventions that can scale up green finance are critical,” said Barbara Buchner, Senior Director of Climate Policy Initiative. “FiRe has done fantastic work accelerating the sort of interventions private investors can back, and our team is very excited to continue moving these forward.”

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Finance for Resilience is a platform that collects, develops and helps implement powerful ideas to accelerate finance for clean energy, climate, sustainability and green growth. More information at www.financeforresilience.com.

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ mission is to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Public Health, Environment, Education, Government Innovation and the Arts. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2014, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $462 million. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @BloombergDotOrg.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) provides unique analysis, tools, and data for decision makers driving change in the energy system. BNEF has 200 staff based in 14 offices around the world. BNEF’s sectoral products provide financial, economic and policy analysis, as well as news and the world’s most comprehensive database of assets, investments, companies and equipment in the clean energy space. BNEF’s regional products provide a comprehensive view on the transformation of the energy system by region. See: http://about.bnef.com, or contact us at sales.bnef@bloomberg.net for more information on our services.

Climate Policy Initiative works to improve the most important energy and land use policies around the world, with a particular focus on finance. We support decision makers through in-depth analysis on what works and what does not. CPI works in places that provide the most potential for policy impact, including Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, and the United States. More information at www.ClimatePolicyInitiative.org.

Contact:

FiRe – U.S. – Elysha Rom-Povolo +1 415 728 3613, elysha@cpisf.org

Bloomberg Philanthropies – Rebecca Carriero, rebbecac@bloomberg.org