The Rockefeller Foundation has earmarked $1.5m for a new global scheme designed to seed developing countries’ transition away from fossil-fuel-based economies after the Covid-19.

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The funding, announced to coincide with Earth Day, comes in the wake of the recently launched Energy Transition Council’s so-called ‘rapid response facility’ (RRF) and will form part of the foundation’s $1bn pledge – its largest financial committed to-date – to accelerate progress toward “a more sustainable, inclusive global recovery” from the pandemic.

“Climate change is the world’s greatest existential threat, and every scenario that reduces CO2 emissions must be pursued,” said Rajiv Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, which was set up by the descendants of US oil baron John D Rockefeller over a century ago.

“The RRF will play a vital role in advancing a just transition to renewable energy that will spur more inclusive economic development by expanding access to clean electricity for energy-poor people around the world.”

The funding from the philanthropic foundation is meant to aid countries in cutting carbon emissions through “strategic planning, technical and capacity building assistance”.

“Accelerating access to reliable, renewable electricity in underserved, low-income communities worldwide is a top priority of the Foundation, which has worked for nearly a decade to improve the lives of over 500,000 people in India, Myanmar and parts of sub-Saharan Africa with distributed renewable energy technologies,” said the Rockefeller Foundation in a statement.

“Expanding access to clean, reliable electricity is essential for the wellbeing and economic opportunity of more than 40% of the world’s population that still lives without reliable electricity access.

Ashvin Dayal, SVP of the foundation’s Power & Climate Initiative, stated: “As the world comes together this Earth Day and works collectively to drive action at COP26 later this year, the RRF is a powerful opportunity to advance both sustainable development goals of ending energy poverty and combatting the climate crisis.”

Among the “key” elements of the overarching fund would be collaborating with national governments and development partners to provide “smart, results-based subsidies” for renewables-powered electrification; mobilising finance to scale up “access to affordable capital for private developers, with the goal of accelerating the bankable pipeline of clean-energy projects”; and bring in funding to boost sustainable renewables-powered agricultural.