The data behind "Climate Cash", a Reuters special report

May 31, 2023Regina Lee Roberts

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Stanford University Libraries is pleased to share new data by the "Reuters-Stanford Climate Finance Project." This special report by Reuters investigative journalists in collaboration with Big Local News data journalists takes a look at international government investments meant to address climate change. In 2009, wealthy nations pledged to invest in climate change initiatives. In 2015, they renewed their pledges to mobilize $100 billion a year to support developing countries in curbing their emissions and adapting to the effects of climate change. Today’s Special Report, Climate Cash published by Reuters, does a deep dive into the question of "Where did this money go?"

To find out, Reuters and Big Local News, (a Stanford Journalism project) created a data set of the reported contributions by country, then by project. Reporters extracted and combined information from country reports submitted to the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, giving them a starting point for their investigations and data analysis. These journalists include Emma Rumney, Irene Casado Sánchez, Jaimi Dowdell, Misato Nakayama, Sakura Murakami, and Kiyoshi Takenaka.

The findings show that the funding from wealthy nations to assist developing countries in addressing climate change based on the pledges at the U.N. climate summit at the 2015 Paris Agreement was without standardized guidelines or programmatic reporting mechanisms. The funding, which includes grants, loans, bonds, equity investments, and other contributions, aims to support emission reduction and climate adaptation projects. However, the recent analysis by Reuters & the Big Local News data journalists found that $3 billion of the reported spending did not align with the program's intended goals.

Check out the story, and the Reuters database visualization, or see the data that has just been deposited, for preservation, into the Stanford Libraries' SDR (Stanford Digital Repository).

If you have questions about the data, please see the Big Local News story recipe by Irene Casado Sánchez, as well as the README file in the data set.

A special thanks to Geoff Willard of Stanford Libraries for his assistance with getting the files and metadata into the SDR.

The work of preserving data that provides transparency for investigative journalism is a valued goal of the Stanford Libraries-Big Local News collaboration

Last updated December 1, 2023