BNP Paribas Foundation will provide €6 million to advance climate change research

June 6, 2017

Between 2017 and 2019, the BNP Paribas Foundation will put an additional €6 million into its Climate Initiative programme to support eight international research projects.

These projects focus on a diverse range of topics including the collection of new data on past climates in Antarctica and tropical areas, the expansion of the dry subtropics in South America, an assessment of the impact of climate change on the coral reefs and the carbon sequestration potential of agricultural soils in Africa.

Launched in 2010, Climate Initiative aims to develop our understanding of climate change and its effects on our environment. It has already enabled ten international research teams to study the climate and raise the awareness of more than 200,000 people about climate change.


8 projects, 178 researchers, professors and engineers, 73 universities and research organisations throughout the world

These global, interdisciplinary projects focus on a broad range of issues concerning the functioning of the climate system, its evolution and the effects it will have on our environment. They cover a total budget of €14.4 million, of which €6 million is provided by the BNP Paribas Foundation.

  • Collecting unprecedented data to model the evolution of East Antarctica, a region still largely unexplored, and its possible consequences on ocean level rise. Project led by Barbara Stenni (Univerista CA’ FOSCARI VENEZIA), Joël Savarino (LGGE (CNRS/ Université Grenoble Alpes)), Detlev Helmig (University of Colorado), Tas van Ommen (Australian Antarctic Division).
  • Measuring the impact of global warming on seabirds and marine mammal that inhabit the Arctic and Antarctic regions or rely on them for their reproduction. Project led by Christophe Barbraud and Yan Ropert-Coudert (CEBC (CNRS/Université la Rochelle)).
  • More closely accounting for IPCC projections and their impact on economic, political and socio-cultural aspects of governance models in the countries most vulnerable to climate change. Project led by Joost Vervoort (Utrecht University)
  • Collecting unprecedented data on tropical climates over the past 800,000 years to better define regional climate changes and understand how the tropical forest has reacted to them. Project led by Marie-Pierre Ledru (ISEM (UM/CNRS/IRD/EPHE)).
  • Measuring and predicting the consequences of global warming on the coral reefs and the services they provide (fishing, tourism, coastal protection). Project led by Valeriano Parravicini (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes).
  • Modelling extreme climate change events in Africa and their effects to help populations reduce their exposure to these phenomena. Project led by Mark New (University of Cape Town) and Friederike Otto (University of Oxford).
  • Better understanding the interaction between climate warming and the Hadley cell (a large-scale atmospheric movement that redistributes heat from the equator to the tropics), which is expanding the subtropical dry zones in the Southern hemisphere.   Project led by Valérie Daux (LSCE (CNRS/CEA/Université de Versailles Saint Quentin)).
  • Better understanding the mechanisms of soil carbon sequestration in tropical agricultural systems and further improving practices in family-based agriculture. Project led by Lydie Lardy (UMR Eco&Sols – Montpellier SupAgro/CIRAD/INRA/IRD).


These projects were selected by a scientific committee comprised of renowned experts:

  • Franck Courchamp, CNRS Research Director at the Laboratory of Ecology, Systematics and Evolution (CNRS/Université Paris-Sud), laureate of the Climate Initiative programme in 2014.
  • Philippe Gillet, Vice Chairman of Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. He leads the scientific committee and is a member of BNP Paribas Foundation’s executive committee.
  • Joanna Haigh, Professor of Atmospheric Physics at Imperial College London, Co-Director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and Environment.
  • Corinne Le Quéré, Professor of Climate Change Science and Policy at the University of East Anglia, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.
  • Thomas Stocker, Professor and Head of the Climate and Environmental Physics department at the University of Bern, where he directs the Department of Climate and Environmental Physics.
  • Riccardo Valentini, Professor of Forest Ecology at the University of Tuscia in Italy.
  • Jean-Pascal Van Ypersele, a climatologist who holds a PhD in Physical Sciences and is a professor at the Université Catholique de Louvain, where he co-directs the Master’s programme in Sciences and Environmental Management. He was Vice President of the IPCC until 2015.

Success for the Climate Initiative: a higher level of participation and more international projects

228 projects were submitted during the call for projects in 2016, compared to 65 in 2013 and 50 in 2010.

These 228 projects represent 1568 researchers from laboratories and universities based in 95 countries across the five continents. In comparison, only 28 countries were represented among the projects submitted in 2010.

95% of the leading European environmental science research institutes[1] submitted at least one project.

This major increase in participation highlights the Climate Initiative programme’s growing recognition and establishment in the landscape of scientific philanthropy.

It can also be explained by the growth in scientific production on the theme of climate change (just under 15,000 scientific publications with the keywords “climate change” appeared in 2010 while nearly 25,000 were counted in 2015).


About the Climate Initiative

Launched in 2010 with the support of the BNP Paribas Corporate Social Responsibility Delegation, this programme has already enabled ten international research teams to study the climate and raise the awareness of almost 200,000 people about climate change.

In 2012, the BNP Paribas Foundation received the jury’s special prize in the corporate philanthropy awards organised by the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.

All the projects receiving support are presented on the BNP Paribas Foundation website.

About the BNP Paribas Foundation

Under the aegis of the Fondation de France, the BNP Paribas Foundation has been playing a key role in corporate philanthropy for 30 years. It also oversees BNP Paribas Group’s international philanthropic growth in all countries where the bank does business.

The BNP Paribas Foundation’s actions are part of a multi-disciplinary approach to philanthropy aimed at promoting innovative projects dedicated to culture, solidarity and the environment. The BNP Paribas Foundation pays close attention to the quality of its commitment to its partners, with the goal of supporting their projects over the long term. Since 1984, it has supported more than 300 cultural projects, 40 research programmes and a thousand social and educational initiatives in France and throughout the world.


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(1) Order based on the Nature Index