Climate Coalitions – A QuickLook at Global Alliances


September 17, 2021

Climate change is the major long-term global issue for the next decades.  The August 2021 IPCC report from Working Group 1, on “The Physical Science Basis”, warns that human influence has warmed climate at an “unprecedented” rate in at least the last 2000 years, that human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather extremes in every world region, and that temperatures “will continue to increase until at least mid-century” under all five emissions scenarios considered. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called it “Code Red for Humanity.”

The IPCC is widely known for its extensive assessment of climate change and what should be done. Far less known are the many NGOs and research institutes that promote mitigation and resilience.  The Subject Index of The Security & Sustainability Guide lists more than 175 organizations that focus solely or primarily on some aspect of climate change. A sub-category of climate coalitions brings together NGOs, UN agencies, and concerned nations. The coalitions have a general focus on climate action or a specialized focus on climate action related to cities, agriculture, health, energy, clean air, or national vulnerability.


Climate Action Network International (1989; Bonn)

A worldwide climate action network of over 1300 Non-Governmental Organizations in more than 120 countries. CAN works to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. Members exchange relevant information and develop NGO strategies that tackle local and global climate issues. Regional networks coordinate activities protecting “ the atmosphere while allowing for sustainable and equitable development worldwide.” [Staff: 26]

Climate Action Network South Asia (2001; Dhaka)

A coalition of over 205 civil society organizations working in eight South Asian countries. Represents “the southern perspectives at international climate negotiations and undertakes inter-governmental, regional, and national actions.” It works towards linking policy, research, and action-based work in the region. [Staff: 11]

Climate Action Network Europe (2008; Brussels)

An NGO coalition of over 160 European member organizations promoting “sustainable climate, energy and development policies” throughout Europe. It strives to avoid climate change hazards by empowering civil society organizations to promote a zero-carbon transition and sustainability. [Staff: 40]

Climate Neutral Now (2015; Bonn)

Started as an initiative launched by UN Climate Change in 2015, as a result of the Paris Agreement adopted the same year. With more than 400 participants acting now to achieve a climate-neutral world, it aims to encourage stakeholders in society to measure, reduce and offset emissions.

Coalition Climate 21 (2014; Paris)

The alliance “includes more than 130 organizations from civil society, associations of international solidarity, faith groups, NGOs defending human rights and the environment, and even social movements.” [Staff: 7]

Under 2 Coalition (2015; London)

A subnational coalition of more than 220 state and regional governments representing over 1.3 billion people and nearly 40% of the global economy. Their goal is to keep global temperature rises below 2°C. Their secretariat is based at The Climate Group (London). [Staff: 65]

Global Call of Climate Action (2009; Montreal)

It’s a network of over 450 nonprofit organizations in more than 70 countries, which works to keep the world “safe from runaway climate change.” They do so by mobilizing public support for action through development, science, environment, youth, labor, and other civil society organizations. [Staff: 20]

Climate Week NYC (2009; New York)

One of the key summits on the international calendar driving climate action forward since the Climate Group first launched it in 2009. This edition will count on 21 sponsors and 11 partners such as the Columbia Climate School, Conservation International, and The Climate Pledge. On September 20st-26th, 2021, the summit “will bring together international leaders from business, government, and civil society to showcase the unstoppable momentum of global climate action.”


C40 Cities (2005; London)

A network of megacities committed to acting against climate change. It aims to “increasing resilience, cleaning the air we breathe and tackling inequality by ensuring that global heating does not exceed 1.5°C, while also preparing for 3°C of heating or more.” [Staff: 204]

Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (2010; FAO, Rome)

The “inclusive, voluntary and action-oriented multi-stakeholder platform on Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA)” is a division of the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN. It develops technical, policy, and investment conditions for sustainable agricultural development and food security and coordinates agricultural, energy, and water sectors. This is all done to “improve food security, nutrition, and resilience in the face of climate change.”

Global Climate and Health Alliance (2011; Berkeley, CA)

Includes a notable group of over 1700 “health NGOs, health professional organizations, and health and environment alliances from around the world” along with more than 8200 hospitals. They work together to “tackle climate change and to protect and promote public health” and to achieve their “shared vision for a sustainable future.” It aims to “ensure health impacts are integrated into global, national, and local responses to climate change” and to “encourage the health sector to mitigate and adapt for climate change.” [Staff: 13]

Ren 21: Renewables Now (2004; Paris)

A global renewable energy community of actors from science, governments, NGOs, and industry associations, that “provides up-to-date and peer-reviewed facts, figures and analysis of global developments in technology, policies, and markets” aiming to “enable decision-makers to make the shift to renewable energy happen – now.” [Staff: 16]

Climate and Clean Air Coalition (2012; Paris)

An alliance of over 73 state and 78 non-state-partners (including 19 international organizations, 59 non-governmental organizations), and 181 civil society actors “committed to improving air quality and protecting the climate through reducing short-lived climate pollutants.” Engages with hundreds of local actors carrying out activities across economic sectors to advance short-lived climate pollutants. [Staff: 16]

The Climate Vulnerable Forum (2009; Geneva)

An “international partnership of 48 developing countries that are highly vulnerable to a warming planet” working together to tackle global climate change to survive and thrive. Serves as a “South-South cooperation platform for participating governments to act together to deal with global climate change” and “achieve maximal resilience and protection for the more than one billion people living in member countries across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.” [Staff: 7]

Alliance of Small Island States (1990; New York)

A coalition of 44 small-island and low-lying coastal countries. These 37 UN members and 7 observer states share similar development challenges and environmental concerns, especially their vulnerability to global climate change. [Staff: 32]


This is merely a quick overview of climate coalitions, which seek to promote mitigation and resilience.  A deeper analysis of all climate change organizations is needed to determine which ones are most influential and why. For starters, however, these climate coalitions seem to be especially important and deserving of greater notice.

With the collaboration of:

Michael Marien

Michael Marien, PhD.

MM is the Senior Principal of The Security & Sustainability Guide and lives “upstate” in LaFayette, New York.

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