Research Outline

Climate Change - Advocacy Groups & Thought Leaders


To compile a list of the most effective climate change advocacy groups and nonprofits in the United States, including any available information on their organizational size, funding, and impact. Also, to compile a list of the top thought leaders on enabling climate advocacy.

Early Findings

  • Several advocacy groups in the United States actively champion climate change-related causes. According to Charity Navigator, a credible resource that evaluates the activities of nonprofit organizations, there are about 461 nonprofit groups that currently focus on advancing environmental causes in the United States.
  • Climate change is a broad problem, and various nonprofit groups measure their effectiveness and progress using different methods. This typically involves measuring their impact against their costs. The most effective nonprofit organizations tend to achieve high-impact goals relative to their expenses.
  • Examples of pro-climate change nonprofit organizations that possess the most high-impact and cost-effective operation in the US, according to Vox Media, include the Clean Air Task Force (CATF), Clean Energy Innovation, and Rainforest Foundation US.

Clean Air Task Force (CATF)

  • The Clean Air Task Force is a US-based non-governmental organization (NGO) that has been working to reduce air pollution since its founding in 1996. In addition to its recommendation by Vox Media, CATF has also bagged endorsements for its effectiveness and impact from top nonprofit evaluators such as the Founder's Pledge and Giving Green. It also earned a full 4/4 star rating from Charity Navigator for its financial management and transparency.
  • Over the past 25 years, CATF has been involved in a number of high-profile policy changes across the US, both at the state and national level. During the Obama Administration, the nonprofit group was able to push through a coal reduction policy that saw smog and soot decrease by more than 70 percent and mercury by 90 percent. CATF took a leading role in enacting the policy and acted as a co-founder and leader of the national US campaign against dirty coal production.
  • CATF has also been mobilizing NGOs and the US government to target methane reduction policies. In addition to several other unquantifiable impacts, the CAFT was the first nonprofit group to aggressively push for the commercialization of carbon capture technologies. This action successfully resulted in the passage of a federal incentive for carbon capture at up to $35 per ton — the first-ever federal legislated price on carbon.
  • According to CATF's yearly report, the nonprofit raised over $6 million in donations in 2020. The nonprofit organization currently has a staff strength of 40. A link to CAFT's website is available here.

Summary of Findings

In the initial hour of our research, we were able to identify several climate change advocacy groups that maintain a high-impact and cost-effective operation and also provided detailed information on Clean Air Task Force (CATF). However, due to time constraints, we were not able to provide any examples of thought leaders on climate change advocacy.