Main Issue

Mitigating climate change is about reducing the release of greenhouse gas emissions that are warming our planet. The many mitigation strategies include retrofitting buildings to make them more energy efficient; adopting renewable energy sources like solar, wind and small hydro; helping cities develop more sustainable transport such as bus rapid transit, electric vehicles and biofuels; and promoting more sustainable uses of land and forests. 

About 1.4 billion people around the world rely on traditional fuels like coal and wood to meet their basic energy needs. This is not only harmful to the environment: it can also lead to premature deaths for millions of people, especially women and children. By 2035, global energy demand is projected to grow by more than 50 percent, and even faster in developing countries. All these new consumers need clean energy that will not hurt them or the environment. 

What We Do

Climate change affects virtually all natural and economic systems. This interaction between climate change and biodiversity, land degradation, forests, chemicals and waste, and international waters points to the importance of recognizing climate change implications in everything we do.  

The GEF has the unique ability to support natural solutions developed with systems thinking that takes advantage of synergies to seek multiple global environmental benefits across Conventions while reducing trade-offs and duplication.  

GEF support for climate change mitigation efforts touches on a range of sectors, including:  

  • Power: ensuring access to low and zero carbon energy solutions, such as solar, wind, small hydro, biopower and geothermal energy. 
  • Cities and Transport: investing in sustainable transport, as well as clean energy solutions for buildings and consumers 
  • Forests: targeting the sources of deforestation to ensure forests continue to provide environmental, social and economic benefits. 
  • Agriculture: promoting practices that reduce land degradation issues and enhance soil quality, while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the sector. 
  • Manufacturing: improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions 
  • Waste: reducing GHG emissions from landfills coupled with reduction in release of chemical pollutants and contamination. 


In GEF’s first 25 years, we have provided support for 940 climate change mitigation projects expected to contribute 8.4 billion tonnes of direct and indirect greenhouse gas emission reductions over time. 

The GEF has provided at least US$4.2 billion and leveraged $38.3 billion from other sources for more than 1,000 mitigation projects and programs in over 160 countries. We support a wide variety of mitigation strategies, but production and consumption of energy is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. GEF investments are geared to mitigate these emissions through specific projects. For example:  

  • Energy efficiency: introducing standards for consumer appliances and equipment, such as lighting, air conditioners and motors, and stronger building codes. 
  • Renewable energy: commercializing and scaling technologies like solar, wind, small hydro, biopower and geothermal energy. 
  • Policy: introducing feed-in tariffs, reverse auctions and other market-based mechanisms and financial instruments to speed up investments in clean energy.

8.4 billion

tCO2 emissions avoided

$2.4 billion

In GEF grants for clean energy

$25 billion

Additional resources for clean energy leveraged by GEF

Looking Ahead

The GEF-7 climate change mitigation strategy aims to support developing countries to make transformational shifts towards low-emission development pathways compatible with the objectives of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement. Within the evolving landscape of climate finance, the strategy is designed to be as complementary as possible to other sources of climate finance, such as the Green Climate Fund.

Building on the GEF's long-standing track record of driving innovation and fostering enabling conditions, the strategy also aims at promoting private sector engagement and increased investment in low-carbon technologies. With these objectives in mind, the GEF-7 mitigation strategy looks to harness and maximize synergies with the other GEF focal areas, including through integrated programming focusing on sustainable cities, sustainable forest management and food commodities value chains.

To achieve the ambitious goal of reducing (or avoiding) emissions of greenhouse gases equivalent to at least 1.5 billion tons of CO2, the mitigation strategy hinges upon three fundamental pillars: 

Promote innovation and technology transfer for sustainable energy breakthroughs. Technology is one of the keys to reducing or slowing the growth in greenhouse gas emissions, and to stabilize their concentrations. GEF will focus its efforts on four areas: (i) de-centralized renewable power with energy storage; (ii) electric drive technologies and electric mobility; (iii) accelerating energy efficiency adoption; (iv) and cleantech innovation. 

Demonstrate mitigation options with systemic impacts. GEF will conduct holistic and integrated migration effort through its Impact Programs om Sustainable Cities, Food Systems, Land, and Restoration, and Sustainable Forest Management. The Sustainable Cities Impact Program, for example, targets urban interventions with significant climate change mitigation potential to help cities shift towards low-emission and resilient urban development in an integrated manner. 

Foster enabling conditions for mainstreaming mitigation concerns into sustainable development strategies. The GEF continues to address the need for enabling conditions to mainstream climate change concerns into the national planning and development agenda through its support for enabling activities, including Convention obligations and the Capacity-building Initiative for Transparency through sound data, analysis, and policy frameworks.