The climate emergency must be addressed with the urgency and seriousness it deserves, but many factors prevent us. It requires the whole world acting together. Other problems appear more pressing, and those benefiting from how things are done today want to delay action. It can seem impossible to solve, putting us on a collision course with physics that will be difficult to avoid.
Yet there are reasons to believe rapid change can happen – we know there are plenty of ways to provide us with what we need that don’t involve greenhouse gases building up in the atmosphere. We need to catalyse the collective will to make this shift.
Quadrature Climate Foundation (QCF) was launched by Quadrature Capital Limited in 2019, committing a portion of annual profits to fighting the climate emergency. Our mission is to urgently shift the current global climate trajectory towards a better future through philanthropic giving and the persuasion of others to join in the effort.
Our climate refers to our long-term weather patterns. As the blanket of gases that surround our planet changes, our climate changes. Human activity is releasing more gases that heat the earth at a faster rate than ever before, and this pace makes it very difficult to adapt. We not only have to stop the build-up, we have to reverse what's been going on since the industrial revolution to avoid catastrophic effects on society in the near future. The increases in temperatures are also not equal across the planet, with more heat building up (e.g. in the Arctic), which is having a widespread impact. Our oceans are also absorbing large amounts of gases and excess heat, triggering yet more impacts on the systems upon which life depends.
We release greenhouse gases when we burn fossil fuels in our power stations, vehicles, factories and homes, and as we alter the land to produce food and other commodities.
Carbon dioxide, one of the main greenhouse gases, can stay in the atmosphere for around a 1000 years. Levels are now higher than at any time in the last 4 million years. Other powerful greenhouse gases (such as methane) are also being released, increasing warming over a couple of decades. The rapid extraction and burning of fossil fuels - coal, oil and gas - are the main contributors to the build up, but changes in how we manage our land and seas are also a big portion of the problem.
The impact of the climate crisis is already visible. The 20 warmest years on record all occurred in the past 22 years. Oceans have absorbed some of the additional carbon dioxide and the excess heat, changing the conditions that sustain our marine life and raising sea levels. Impacts on land include increased frequency and intensity of, floods, droughts, wildfires and extreme weather. Human lives have already been lost and thousands of species are at risk of extinction. We are in no doubt that we are in a climate emergency, and the actions we take now and over the next decade will have a big impact on the future of humanity.
If every nation was meeting the Paris Climate Change Agreement commitments, the earth would still be heading for a 3+ degree rise, and unfortunately we are collectively far behind in meeting these commitments. There are feedback mechanisms, which means a change triggers yet more change – for example, loss of ice in the Arctic stops heat being reflected back away from the ocean, which warms even faster. What we do know is that every day we add more gases to the blanket and this increases the risk of things getting worse. The global experiment we are conducting has no precedent and we need to act now to reduce the risk of the worst outcomes becoming a reality.
QCF is focused on immediate reductions of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with human activities. QCF’s strategies for achieving this goal are listed below.
We are focused on helping get global emissions of greenhouse gases onto a rapidly declining pathway. We support work on the main sources of the problem, and are happy funding a wide range of ideas and ways of working that can trigger positive change. The principles we seek to apply when assessing how to grant are:
The person/entity must acknowledge others in the sector, be modest and realistic about capacity to drive change, foster shared knowledge and efforts, and commit to making results open to the community
We want to focus on achieving near-term progress on reducing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We support ideas that can be enacted quickly, scaled and sustained over time
We focus on impact and are open to a wide range of solutions based on facts and sound analysis. We want to avoid ideologies that can distort focus
We are looking to support interventions that can trigger a big impact, and ideas that can scale, with international relevance. We are particularly keen to support where other sources of support are hard to come by
We want the work to originate from deep knowledge / specialism in a relevant field, but we are comfortable with some risks relating to novelty as we look to scale successes. Originality is welcomed