Climate Law & Finance Initiative


The Climate Law & Finance Initiative (CLFI) serves as a hub of transdisciplinary research and engagement to advance global understanding of the role of the interrelated areas of law, policy, and finance in addressing the climate crisis and accelerating the energy transition.


Taking on the climate crisis and its widespread impacts on people, the planet, and the economy requires substantial transformations in market dynamics and financial flows.

Over the last several years, governments, financial institutions, and for- and non-profit actors have been innovating with approaches and methodologies to manage the physical and transition risks of climate change and to support the alignment of business and finance to the energy transition. Legislators and regulatory bodies are increasingly integrating both the design and oversight of these methodologies in law. 

The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law (the Sabin Center) and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) established the Climate Law and Finance Initiative (CLFI) to conduct rigorous transdisciplinary research and analysis that addresses interrelated legal, policy, and finance pathways to achieving climate goals at multiple scales of governance.

CLFI’s applied research agenda focuses on four pillars:

  • Financing the Energy Transition. Under this pillar, CLFI analyzes the barriers to financing the energy transition and how we can address them. Together with UN agencies, regional associations, national governments, public and private financial institutions, and other stakeholders, the Initiative will address the legal and structural challenges to mobilizing adequate, affordable finance for the energy transition.
  • Regulation for Finance and Markets. Government action is decisive for achieving climate goals, through energy roadmaps, public finance, subsidies and pricing mechanisms, market regulation, and financial regulation. CLFI will support the critical analysis and understanding of government mechanisms that are decisive to aligning finance with climate goals and the energy transition.
  • Methodologies and Metrics. There has been a proliferation of metrics and methodologies over the past decade, purporting to measure financial and business alignment with climate goals and the energy transition. Too often, these metrics and methodologies are misaligned, imprecise, not interoperable, or gameable. CLFI seeks to pinpoint the challenges and improve the performance of those critical methodologies and metrics.
  • Climate-Related Financial Risk, Analysis, and Disclosure. CLFI and its partners work to understand the potential impacts of and improve means of accounting for climate risk and resilience factors in decisions concerning investment portfolios, assets and operations, litigation, and policymaking.

Across all of these pillars, CLFI’s research and analysis is both informed by and seeks to influence the Initiative's convenings and engagement with experts, practitioners, policymakers, advocates, and the public.

Centered at both the Law School and Climate School at Columbia University, CLFI draws on expertise and convening power from both Schools and across the University.



CLFI benefits from partnerships with and project support from Environmental Defense Fund, Laudes Foundation, CalPERS, and High Tide Foundation. Seed programmatic support for CLFI has been provided by Wells Fargo Foundation.