Clean Air Task Force

Clean Air Task Force

Climate Research & Advocacy

The Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is an international nonprofit that promotes technical and policy change for the climate. CATF values pragmatism and believes all promising options should be explored to prevent catastrophic climate change.

What problem is Clean Air Task Force working on?

Harmful emissions are causing our planet to undergo an unprecedented and rapid change. More than 70% of the emissions that cause global warming come from our energy system. Every year, the global energy system produces almost 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions — pushing our planet toward irreversible climate tipping points. As emerging economies develop and their energy needs increase, that number will only increase unless we make dramatic changes to the way we power our world.

What does Clean Air Task Force do?

CATF is working to rapidly reduce emissions while advancing durable climate solutions to ensure a net-zero emissions, high-energy planet at an affordable cost. It exists to identify reality-based bottlenecks and blindspots in global climate policy, reframe the challenge and solution options, and build unconventional alliances to implement them. CATF aims to create a world in which our population can meet its energy needs without harming the environment.

In support of that vision, CATF:

  • Develops and advocates for policies that support its goals of emissions reduction and technology innovation.
  • Engages in research and analysis to understand the best pathways and barriers to a zero-carbon energy system. The organisation focuses on decarbonising the electricity, transport, and industry sectors, and developing the infrastructure to do so.
  • Conducts legal advocacy and litigation to advance climate action and regulations that reduce pollution.
  • Provides commercial assessment and support, scoping new and emerging low-emission energy technologies and evaluating their potential to scale to climate impact levels
  • Performs climate outreach and education to educate stakeholders and raise public awareness in a variety of ways, including hosting symposia and workshops, speaking at panels and other events, and generating technical reports.
  • Catalyses partnerships and builds coalitions across industry, sectoral, and political lines, with the goal of achieving policy enactments and commercial development

What information does Giving What We Can have about the cost-effectiveness of CATF?1.

The impact-focused evaluator Founders Pledge conducted an evaluation highlighting that CATF is among the most cost-effective organisations working on climate change. Founders Pledge’s report found that:

  • “The Clean Air Task Force is our top pick in climate change. They combine high-quality research on climate policy, with a demonstrated ability to achieve major policy change on a small budget.”
  • “They have a strong track record of achieving state and federal policy change in the US in multiple campaigns since their formation.”
  • “They focus on innovation in neglected low-carbon technologies, which is our priority climate change intervention. Their project prioritisation aims explicitly to maximise climate impact.”
  • “They have a very strong team of policy researchers, technical experts, and policy campaigners.”

Additionally, CATF is one of Giving Green's 2023 recommendations, and has been a recommendation of Giving Green since 2020. Readers can learn more about this in their deep dive report on CATF and their broader deep dive reports on geothermal energy and decarbonising aviation and maritime shipping.

Please note that GWWC does not evaluate individual charities. Our recommendations are based on the research of third-party, impact-focused charity evaluators our research team has found to be particularly well-suited to help donors do the most good per dollar, according to their recent evaluator investigations. Our other supported programs are those that align with our charitable purpose — they are working on a high-impact problem and take a reasonably promising approach (based on publicly-available information).

At Giving What We Can, we focus on the effectiveness of an organisation's work -- what the organisation is actually doing and whether their programs are making a big difference. Some others in the charity recommendation space focus instead on the ratio of admin costs to program spending, part of what we’ve termed the “overhead myth.” See why overhead isn’t the full story and learn more about our approach to charity evaluation.