Climate finance governance: Fit for purpose?

Sarah Bracking*, Ben Leffel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


This article consists of a critical review of the conceptual scholarship on the governance of climate finance and includes an overview of the institutional arrangements and governance logics that provide climate finance. New decentralized, polycentric structures allow for climate finance to more effectively reach the sub- and non-state actors most directly implementing climate change governance. However, the expansion of climate finance into market-inflected forms of blended finance, as well as debt-based financing, express a neoliberal logic that shifts power to market actors. This may challenge the efficacy of climate finance. We suggest that further research is needed on polycentric systems in climate finance, since an apparent expansion in the diversity of providers is also accompanied by a counter-intuitive concentration of decision-making power with financial fund managers. We join others in suggesting that the weight of scholarship advocates for a strong return to public authored finance and governance, under the auspices of Green New Deal programs and more widely. This article is categorized under: Policy and Governance > Multilevel and Transnational Climate Change Governance.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere709
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • blended finance
  • climate finance
  • climate finance governance
  • financialization
  • municipal bonds


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