• Portfolios / Clean Power

    Low-carbon electricity can create a safer climate and more prosperous future.

  • Portfolios / Clean Power

    More efficient, low-carbon power generation is helping energy providers reduce demand for coal-fired power — the leading source of climate pollution and a costly threat to public health.

  • Portfolios / Clean Power

    New business models, market rules, and regulatory practices are driving investment towards low-carbon electricity.

Annual Emissions Reductions Potential / 2030 Breakdown by ClimateWork Priority Regions

Annual Emissions Reductions Potential / 2030 Breakdown by ClimateWork Priority Regions

Annual Emissions Reductions Potential / Breakdown by ClimateWork Priority Regions

Key Data Points

Roughly one-quarter of the global emissions reductions required to limit warming to 2°C are found in the power sector. (McKinsey & Co.)

$1 Trillion

By 2030, low-carbon power sector growth in ClimateWorks’ priority regions would yield more than $1 trillion in public health-related savings.

6.9 Million

Climate action in the power sectors of ClimateWorks’ priority regions would increase crop yields, helping feed 6.9 million more people.

These key data points come from Climate-Smart Development: Adding Up the Benefits of Actions that Help Build Prosperity, End Poverty and Combat Climate Change, developed in 2014 by ClimateWorks and the World Bank. Building on research to quantify the benefits of climate action and highlight scalable solutions, the report provides a framework to better understand the climate risks and benefits in different pathways to sustainable development. Its findings clearly demonstrate that climate action can both be a boon for economic activity, and deliver significant benefits to the climate.

The Clean Power Portfolio

The Clean Power Portfolio focuses on transforming the power sector in China, India, Europe, and the US, representing two-thirds of the world’s power-sector emissions and one-fourth of its total carbon emissions. As leaders in these economies take action, they can significantly influence the direction of power systems throughout the world.

Clean power can catalyze dramatic reductions in global CO₂ emissions and yields significant other benefits, such as healthier living conditions, increased energy security, and greater economic competitiveness. Strategies in the portfolio target key areas that, together, can accelerate the transformation of the global power sector.

Clean Energy, Clean Air

To meet our global climate goals, we must transition the world’s power sector beyond coal to clean energy no later than 2050. Fortunately, the benefits of expanding clean energy go far beyond reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change. The burning of coal and other fossil fuels emit air pollutants that can create severe and long-lasting health impacts. With outdoor air pollution on the rise – the World Health Organization estimates that 9 of 10 people worldwide breath dirty air – it is critical that we minimize exposure to these pollutants, especially from coal power. Coal-fired power emits nitrous oxide, sulphur dioxide, particulate matter, and mercury that are all dangerous to our health. Coal power also significantly contributes to global warming, producing 27 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Keeping these pollutants out of our air to protect public health requires stringent emissions standards in place today, even as the world works to transition entirely beyond coal.

With the advent of cheap, clean renewable energy, the continued use of dirty energy is increasingly uneconomic and detrimental to our health and environment. The Clean Energy, Clean Air program supports international efforts to rapidly transition beyond coal power and other fossil fuels so we can all breath cleaner air, benefit from abundant clean renewable energy and slow climate change.

Low-Carbon Supply

To reduce reliance on coal-fired generation, zero- and low-carbon power supplies must scale up across the globe. Achieving such growth requires investments in grid-scale renewable energy, financial incentives to deploy clean technologies like rooftop solar, and policies that encourage integration of renewables.

New Business Models

Historically, utilities have been rewarded financially for building new plants and selling more power. But as more solar, wind, and other intermittent sources of clean power come online, the traditional utility business model is being challenged. To help modernize the utility business model, ClimateWorks and its partners are pushing to create greater financial incentives for clean energy investments in the power sector. ClimateWorks and its partners are also exploring how advanced technologies such as storage and greener, smarter grids can help to better integrate clean, intermittent power sources such as wind and solar.

Clean Power Program Team

The Clean Power Portfolio is coordinated through ClimateWorks by staff with expertise in public policy, research, politics, and philanthropy, and in collaboration with ClimateWorks' funding and regional partners.

Contact us to learn more.

Jess Lam

Program Manager, Clean Energy, Clean Air

Jess Lam manages the Clean Energy, Clean Air program. She brings international and domestic experience in energy policy, greenhouse gas inventory, and carbon dioxide removal. Before this role, Jess was managing the Clean Power program at ClimateWorks, which aims to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, advance power sector reform in key geographies, and enable advanced clean energy technologies, such as carbon dioxide removal. Prior to joining ClimateWorks, Ms. Lam was an Associate at ICF International working on state, federal, and international mitigation and sustainability projects. She has also interned at the Natural Resources Defense Council on building energy efficiency, at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies on sustainable transportation research, and at the California Air Resources Board on legislative affairs. Ms. Lam holds a master’s degree in Environmental Management from Duke University and a bachelor of science in Environmental Policy and Planning from the University of California, Davis.

Jan Mazurek, Ph.D.

Director, Carbon Dioxide Removal Fund

Jan Mazurek, PhD directs ClimateWorks’ Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) Fund. She has worked on energy and environmental policy at the federal and state level for more than 25 years. Prior to ClimateWorks, then-Governor Schwarzenegger (R-CA) appointed her to serve as Senior Policy Advisor to the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Before CARB, Mazurek was a member of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team, advising on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency toxics, pesticides, and children’s health issues. She has published two books with the MIT Press and Johns Hopkins University presses, respectively, and more than 100 other publications, including op-eds in major U.S. newspapers. Dr. Mazurek also has testified on environmental policy matters before U.S. Congressional subcommittees. She holds a doctorate from UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs.

Frances Wang

Program Associate

Before joining ClimateWorks, Frances worked for three years in interdisciplinary environmental research with a focus on action-oriented solutions. As a Research Associate for McGill University, she helped to lead and design innovative monitoring and evaluation frameworks for climate adaptation governance. Frances also worked on renewable energy research at Oxford University’s Low-Carbon Futures Program as part of the Horizon 2020 Projects and green growth strategies at the United Nations Environment Program in Geneva, Switzerland. She is the author of multiple academic and U.N. flagship publications. Frances holds an M.Sc. in Environmental Change and Management from Oxford University with a focus on energy policy and practice and a B.A. in Economics from McGill University.

Pamela Wellner

Communications Director, Clean Energy, Clean Air

Pamela has been working passionately for a sustainable planet for over 20 years. She has directed communications campaigns for nonprofits, government and businesses focused on increasing energy efficiency, clean energy and electric vehicle adoption on behalf of California agencies such as the Air Resources Board, Energy Commission and Public Utilities Commission. She was senior manager for Energy Upgrade California, which won the 2017 Energy Star Excellence in Promotion Award, managed marketing for the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, developed its brand strategy, as well as that of the California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project. Pamela also managed the 2016 CoolCalifornia City Challenge, a 22 city competition that engaged over 3,000 households to reduce their carbon footprint. While at the California Public Utilities Commission, she focused on utility customer energy efficiency marketing and behavior change, helped create the Behavior Energy and Climate Change Conference and has frequently presented on behavior change approaches. Before getting ensconced in California energy issues, Pamela directed cutting edge campaigns to protect old growth forests and human rights from unsustainable timber practices for products ranging from musical instruments to tissue paper, and helped establish the Forest Stewardship Council. She has a master’s in public administration from New York University and bachelor’s in human ecology from the small, but mighty, College of the Atlantic.