What is climate finance?

The module will begin by outlining the different conceptions of climate finance – and introduce existing obligations and principles that underlie them. It will outline key actors, institutions and processes in the global landscape of climate finance. Finally, it will open a discussion about how much finance is needed, for what, and where it might come from.

Learning Objectives

  • Participants understand the variety of definitions of climate finance and their implications.
  • Participants develop their individual/organizational definition of climate finance.
  • Participants develop a basic understanding of the main proposals for raising climate finance, and develop criteria to evaluate the fairness and effectiveness of each.

Guiding Questions

  • What is climate finance? What are the main definitions and operating assumptions?
  • How does climate finance relate to other financial flows, such as climate debt, energy subsidies, infrastructure finance, development assistance?
  • What do participants consider to be the important principles that should guide climate finance?
  • Who can – and should be able to – access climate finance and how?

Facilitators Guide

A suggested roadmap for how to move participants through discussion, including suggestions for preparation, methodologies, and activities. For this module there are also four downloadable activity sheets.


A comprehensive set of slides with notes and citations that can be used in lecture format or to guide group discussions. more slides are provided than can be reasonably used in any single presentation so please pick and choose according to your needs!

Case Study

A real world example of climate finance ‘on the ground’ that can be used to help participants ground conceptual discussions. For this module, we have chosen the case of the La Mata and La Ventosa Wind Park in Oaxaca, Mexico, which receives $140 million in loan financing from a number of development finance institutions, and is also registered as a CDM project. The project is run by French energy giant EDF, and produces power for Walmart.


IPS, A Glossary of Climate Finance Terms: Climate Finance

Heinrich Böll Stiftung and Overseas Development Institute, Climate Finance Fundamentals

Buchner B. et al. (2012) The Landscape of Climate Finance 2012, Climate Policy Initiative

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