Since 2006, RFF has focused its Environment program almost exclusively on climate change. Our program emphasizes public education on the risks of global warming and implementation of sound solutions. RFF is interested in the development of initiatives designed to enact aggressive policies at the state and national levels to reduce carbon emissions; disrupt the life cycle of fossil fuels from drilling and mining to transportation and exporting; bring diverse and compelling new voices into the climate debate; and examine how special interests are distorting science and delaying constructive steps to deal with this impending global crisis.


Climate Accountability
Meaningful climate progress will require breaking through the resistance of the fossil fuel industry and its allies. To accomplish this we support programs designed to: engage and motivate citizens demanding change; deepen public recognition of the climate disruption now unfolding; unmask forces working to prevent climate progress, and policies, and require polluters to pay their fair share of the climate damages they caused to help the public meet enormous climate adaptation expenses we now face.  Among numerous milestones, this work has led to:  a ground-breaking report issued by senior U.S. military advisors that climate change is a national security risk; an active and thriving grassroots movement demanding climate progress; reporting by investigative journalists about what fossil companies knew about climate change (and when) and how some companies worked to deceive public the “catastrophic” damage climate change would cause; and authoritative analyses of how advocates can best advance climate policies in the current political environment.  

Carbon-Intensive Fuel
The Rockefeller Family Fund has played a leadership role on fights against investment in dirty energy projects for many years. When the coal industry announced plans to build more than 150 plants across the country, RFF recognized that the construction of even one new plant would commit the U.S. to long-term high levels of carbon dioxide emissions, effectively preventing the national from making climate progress. Over the past decade, RFF has continued to work in opposition to the coal industry while increasingly playing a leadership role in helping groups that are fighting the development of oil, gas, plastics, and petrochemicals infrastructure. Initially our work on oil and gas focused on efforts to prevent billions of dollars in investment in pipelines and has now broadened to a concentration on the entire range of infrastructure projects, including extraction, transport, processing, and export.

Representative Grants


Columbia Journalism School
For the Columbia Journalism School's Investigations initiative

EarthRights International
For its Climate Corporate Accountability program

Environmental Integrity Project
For general support

Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis
For general support for its domestic programs.

New Jersey Conservation Foundation
To support the organizations of land trusts to oppose the use of eminent domain to site pipelines

Niskanen Center
For its eminent domain and pipeline program

Our Children's Trust
For the Juliana litigation

Sunrise Movement Education Fund
For general support



RFF grantee the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) released a report showing how since 2010, the world’s largest oil and gas companies have failed to generate enough cash from selling oil, gas, refined products, and petrochemicals to cover the payments they have made to shareholders. They found that five of the largest publicly traded oil and gas firms (ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, Total, and Shell) collectively rewarded stockholders with $536 billion in dividends and share buybacks since 2020 but only generated $329 billion in free cash flow over the same period.

Read the full report here: https://ieefa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Living-Beyond-Their-Means-Five-Oil-Majors-Cannot-Cover-Dividends_January-2020.pdf