Skip to main content
Driving Sectoral Response
to Climate Change

In Tajikistan, our resilience capacity building resulted in a


in losses from drought and floods.



Global Commitments
to Stem the Worst

State of
Climate Finance


A Selection of our Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Activities around the World


Select a sector to learn more

Cities Today, more than half of the world's population lives in urban areas, with the number expected to reach 60% by 2030. Urban vulnerability to climate change is already extensive, with 70% of cities experiencing effects like extreme heat waves and flooding, making climate adaptation critical. Cities also hold the key to staving off the most catastrophic scenarios of climatic change, as they consume ⅔ of the world's energy and create over 70% of global CO2 emissions. Enhancing cities' resilience to climate change and facilitating the transition to sustainable communities is critical. We are working to identify adaptation strategies and measures to enhance resilience that will not only protect urban populations but also deliver economic benefits as well.

Energy Across developing countries many significant barriers exist to financing clean energy (CE), including investment, institutional, policy, and capacity development barriers, which depress or eliminate incentives for the commercial lending sector to commit to this rapidly evolving market opportunity. Commercial financial institutions need the ability to understand CE market opportunities and develop the credit systems and products to effectively lend to consumers, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Energy Service Companies (ESCOs), and other clean energy providers. Our clean energy finance experts are working to develop and promote policies, programs and projects that will foster increased private investment in clean energy resources.

Agriculture and Forestry Climate change is having a material impact on agriculture throughout the world through drought, flooding and storm damage, changing ranges for destructive pests and diseases. In the industrialized countries, these impacts are having significant economic consequences. In developing countries, these impacts can have life or death consequences for vulnerable populations. Our work in the agriculture sector in emerging markets around the world has included the development of strategies to accelerate innovation and resilience through the introduction of new plant varieties, more water-efficient irrigation techniques, and expansion of markets and development of value-added processing to increase the resilience of agricultural output in the case of weather-related shocks.

Water and Ecosystems There are myriad of ecosystem impacts associated with increasing temperatures, changing precipitation patterns and increased ocean acidification, affecting human populations and commercial activities that depend on these ecosystems. Changing patterns of precipitation will alter the volume and geographic distribution of freshwater resources around the world, affecting water utility managers, agricultural production, and population centers, while increased intensity of storms will result in coastal flooding and salt-water intrusion affecting coastal population centers. Our environmental scientists have been studying and analyzing the diverse impacts of human activities and climate change on a range of ecosystems, and have developed strategies and plans to protect and restore them in diverse geographies around the world. Our work in the area of water resources involves analysis and policy support to help water utilities manage these changes.






Advancing Resilience

To drive expanded action for climate change across the U.S., we performed first-of-its-kind research to systematically evaluate the state of climate adaptation practice in 17 communities throughout the country. We evaluated community drivers for motivation, specific actions and reduction in vulnerability achieved.

As part of this research, we interviewed 50 thought leaders in fields ranging from climate adaptation and environmental justice to natural resource management and community engagement. Based on this empirical foundation, we developed a cross-case analysis of key findings, strategic recommendations for community-based champions and recommendations to advance the state of the practice.


We evaluated more than 40 existing and emerging technologies that can help Asian cities adapt to climate change. These included technological innovations in transportation, water resources, human health, disaster risk management, food security, and coastal protection, and determined their effectiveness, costs, co-benefits, and feasibility.

We have demonstrated ways to integrate climate risk and resilience into urban development planning across vulnerable countries. In Tajikistan, we conducted climate and impact modeling workshops and trained more than 100 government officials on climate risk impacts and management.

We developed local resilience action plans and a climate risk-screening tool for priority sectors and established a small grant facility to support the implementation of the action plans. We also developed a climate risk management system to prioritize investments, and designed resilience interventions. Examples of interventions include solar water pumps, drip irrigation, protection of embankments along hillsides, check dams, and micro-trenches in flood areas. To ensure effective local engagement and buy-in, we produced a guidance manual for local governments on how to consult effectively with poor and marginalized groups, including women.

These actions significantly increased resilience of the Tajik people and infrastructure, including reducing the number of people affected by drought and floods by 20 percent and losses from drought and floods by 25 percent.

Advancing Mitigation of Emissions and Urban Pollution

In the Philippines, we led a multi-agency effort to assess the economy-wide costs and benefits of mitigation options, including identifying more 63,710 outdoor air pollution-related deaths that could be avoided if all mitigation options were to be implemented.

The results of our analysis were used by the Government of Philippines as the evidence base for developing the Philippines' Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), as per the Paris Agreement, and the prioritization and formulation of sectoral mitigation actions.

To better understand benefits of sustainable transport, we quantified the health benefits of the Greater Dhaka Sustainable Urban Transport Corridor Project in Bangladesh, and monetized health benefits of Shandong Spring City Green Modern Trolley Bus in Jinan China.

Across the globe, urban solid waste is a major source of short-lived climate pollutants. To improve solid waste management across developing countries, we provide technical and capacity building support, tool and resource development and outreach support to the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC).

For CCAC's Municipal Solid Waste Initiative, one of the tools we developed is the Solid Waste Emissions Estimation Tool (SWEET), a core resource, which estimates emissions and compares the emissions reduction benefits of different waste management scenarios. This tool has been utilized around the world, including by Nepal, Mexico, Brazil, Serbia, India and West Africa.

To help cities and governments simplify and consolidate reporting, verification, and management of climate change progress, we developed CarbonCounts™ a web-based centralized platform. In the U.S., the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is using CarbonCounts™ to track its progress in reducing GHG emissions across 27 different strategies covering energy production, transportation, buildings and non-energy sectors. Mexico City, has also used CarbonCounts™ to track water conservation, energy savings, solid waste management, green procurement and commuter reduction.

For other U.S. states, like Connecticut and Rhode Island, we have delivered policy analysis and climate mitigation planning support across sectors such as buildings, transportation, energy, and land use.


Building banks' capacity to develop clean energy lines of business


Across eight West African countries, we engaged with 38 commercial banks to increase lenders awareness of clean energy opportunities including solar home systems, rural mini-grids, as well as off and on-grid rooftop solar. We developed bank-specific diagnostics on readiness to lend, and tailored workshops on alignment between clean energy opportunities and existing banks' priorities, strengthening lending capacity in the clean energy sector.

In 2013, we co-created the Clean Energy Lending Toolkit, a practical guide for lending institutions to launch a clean energy lending line of business. This customizable toolkit guides bankers and others in developing countries through the current clean energy market financing landscape, helping them understand how their customers could take advantage of opportunities with the right lending systems and products.

In El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, we trained more than 1,200 bankers in the Clean Energy Lending Toolkit, with 40 percent being women at local commercial financial institutions. To further scale clean energy lending, we developed clean energy market assessments for each of the three countries, strengthening banks' understanding of the lending opportunities for clean energy. This led to USAID's Development Credit Authority's preparation of a $54M loan guarantee fund and for three of the banks to create clean energy lending lines of credit.


Attracting public- and private-sector investment for grid-connected renewable energy development

In Thailand, we are scaling up rooftop solar by informing policy, developing guidelines and mobilizing investment. Our analysis of impacts of Thailand's rooftop solar net billing policy on utilities and ratepayers resulted in the Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE) proposing a distributed photo voltaic (PV) self-consumption policy.

The policy was approved by the National Energy Policy Council and will soon allow consumers in Thailand to install rooftop solar panels and sell excess energy back to the grid. We also developed a suite of Solar PV Rooftop Guidelines and Tools that include implementation guidelines, standard power purchase agreement (PPA) templates, and financial models that have been institutionalized by DEDE, and downloaded from USAID Clean Power Asia's website 281 times in 2017.

By providing guidance and support to private companies in the bid evaluation process, we mobilized private sector finance and investment for grid-integrated clean energy, including a $12.5M in private sector investment for an 8 MW solar PV rooftop project and a second phase $16.5M private sector investment in an 11 MW solar PV project.

Training and convening key stakeholders to unlock investment in, and mobilization of, grid-connected clean energy

In Cambodia and Lao PDR we trained more than 200 stakeholders in clean energy topics through targeted regional, national, and subnational workshops. Topics included policy development roadmaps, scaling-up grid-connected clean energy through improved planning, setting national clean energy targets, identifying clean energy zones and clean energy grid integration.

To support energy auctions in the Lower Mekong we are sharing information on international best practices in auction design, assisting the Government of Laos in developing its first-ever competitive auction of solar PV farms, and supporting the Government of Cambodia in establishing solar PV policies that support the integration of clean energy into energy markets.

Driving adoption of sustainable practices

In South Sudan, we established sustainable land-use practices through trainings, pilot demonstrations and a national awareness conference. We introduced modern, drought resistant seed technology, motivated smallholder farmers to place 19,400 hectares of land under cultivation using modern agronomic practices that involve more efficient use of water and trained more than 5,000 lead farmers.

Climate change has curbed rainfall in many of Mali's key agricultural regions. We partnered with local organizations to build and rehabilitate dozens of irrigation canals and retention dams to capture rainfall and trained farmers in water management and maintenance of irrigation equipment.

Bolivia is particularly vulnerable to climate shocks due to increased droughts in the dry months and snow pack melt induced floods in the wet months, exacerbating chronic malnutrition. To address this challenge, we focused on increasing the availability and production of high-nutrition foods while promoting improved natural resources management, climate resilience, and environmental conservation.

We trained 2,000 women in the construction of ecological kitchens, improving the health of more than 9,200 people, and providing a climate-friendly alternative to traditional stoves. We also facilitated sustainable management of over 34,000 hectares through organic or other best production practices.

Flooded rice paddies emit about 20 percent of total manmade methane emissions, a greenhouse gas 28 times more potent that carbon dioxide. With Vietnam being one of the world's largest rice exporters, we conducted a marginal abatement cost curve analysis of alternative rice production options in Vietnamese districts that would sustainably reduce methane emissions emitted from rice fields.

We demonstrated that the existing national plan for supporting low-emission rice production alternative was not as economically viable as originally expected, which lead to the increased provision of government support to farmers towards adopting system of rice intensification rice varieties.

We developed an innovative methodology to evaluate the effectiveness of climate services to farmers to better understand quality of weather and climate forecasts and agronomic advisories, distribution of information, uptake of that information and actions taken by farmers. Our logic model linked the provision of information on weather, climate, and agriculture with decision making, and ultimately with improved social and economic outcomes.

We applied this method to evaluate the effectiveness of the Caribbean Meteorological Initiative (CAMI) which brings together the meteorological and agricultural agencies of 10 Caribbean nations to deliver climate services to farmers. For CAMI, we determined areas of success, areas where further work is needed, priorities for future climate services work in the Caribbean, and lessons learned that are applicable to climate services in other locations.

Evaluating effectiveness of climate services

In Mali, we assisted farmers by providing information, training, and material support and key government agency extension services. We also evaluated effectiveness of 10-day weather forecasts and seasonal climate forecasts in assisting farmers in making production decisions. This included verifying the link between weather and climate information and adaptive practices in agriculture and agroforestry at the international, national, regional, commune, and village levels.

Uncovering true value of ecosystems for informed decision making

We developed ecosystems valuation case studies for Muaro Jambi and Mamasa in Indonesia, identifying uses of ecosystems, potential value propositions, and recommended actions for communities, policymakers, and others to take in promoting sustainable, low carbon investments in those resources. Our analysis supported decisions on which Districts were eligible for investment, as well as targeting of over $100 million in investments.

For Quelimane, a coastal city in Mozambique, we prepared a cost-benefit analysis with environmental valuation of mangrove restoration and regeneration and infrastructure resilience development. This demonstrated the financial versus economic incentives to protecting the city's fisheries and other livelihoods in. Results of our analysis were used by the city in planning for coastal resilience infrastructure investments and protection.

Evaluating extent of climate change impacts on vulnerable ecosystems

Coral reefs provide valuable ecosystem goods and services. We synthesized literature on the ability of the ocean to absorb anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions and projected impacts of acidification on major oceanic ecosystems and species.

Following that, we designed a spatially explicit mathematical model that estimates the effects of ocean acidification and climate change on the ecosystem goods and services provided by coral reefs at regional and global scales. We used the model output to drive ecosystem-level economic models, which we then integrated into existing global economic models to estimate the social cost of carbon.

In Iloilo, Philippines we conducted a water security and climate change assessment in which we reviewed local development priorities, identified climate and non-climate stressors and assessed climate risks. As a result, we developed 22 adaptation and development options to address water security and climate change in Iloilo and the Tigum-Aganan watershed.

In the U.S., we are supporting the Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool, which allows water utilities to assess climate-related risks, including potential economic impacts, and to assess benefits and costs of adaptation options.

The model uses spatially explicit, quantitative climate change projections across the U.S. to calculate changes in temperature, precipitation, 24-hour precipitation event magnitudes and return intervals, and sea-level rise projections along the coast and tidally influenced rivers.


Identifying climate risks and resilience strategies for water resources

To help inform U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' decisions about investment priorities, we designed and developed a National Flood Risk Characterization Tool, which provides a set of measures of relative risk across the U.S..

The tool is based on innovative methods to estimate flood depths in 100-year and 500-year flood zones across the U.S., including coastal areas. The tool calculates the potential for asset damages, human exposure, exposure of emergency response infrastructure and other flood risk and vulnerability metrics across the U.S., allowing the user to visualize these flood risk metrics on a map-based interface.