The bank for a changing world


Since 2010, the BNP Paribas Foundation has supported climate change research through its Climate Initiative program. The goal is to understand and anticipate the impact of climate change on our environment as well as local populations around the world.

Climate Initiative: new projects

In 2017, the Foundation’s scientific committee selected eight new research projects to receive funding through the Climate Initiative program. Our selection process involved a call for projects issued among the scientific community.

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Members of the scientific committee

The program has a budget of €6 million over three years, and involves a call for projects followed by a rigorous selection process led by people who are well known within their area of research and representing a large scope of climate related research fields.

  1. Philippe Gillet, Vice-Chairman of Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Mr Gillet leads the scientific committee and is a member of the BNP Paribas Foundation’s executive committee.
  2. Joanna Haigh, Professor of Atmospheric Physics at Imperial College London, Co-Director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and Environment.
  3. Jean-Pascal Van Ypersele, Professor of Climatology and Environmental Sciences at the Université Catholique de Louvain, where he co-directs the Master programme in Science and Management of the Environment. He is a member of the Georges Lemaître Centre for Earth and Climate Research and was Vice-Chairman of the IPCC between 2008 and 2015.
  4. Thomas Stocker, Professor and Head of the Climate and Environmental Physics department at the University of Bern.
  5. Riccardo Valentini, Professor of Forest Ecology at the University of Tuscia,Italy.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.


APT : Acceleration Of Permafrost Thaw By Snow-Vegetation Interactions

Climate change is starting to melt the portion of our planet’s soil that remains frozen year round. As a result, part of the carbon trapped in permafrost is transformed into CO2 and methane, a phenomenon that could release up to two times the amount of CO2 already contained in the atmosphere. The French-Canadian team working at the Takuvik laboratory will conduct a study over the course of several years to learn more about this process.

Illustration : Instrument deployment at Bylot Island (Canada), July 2013 © Florent Dominé (TAKUVIK, Université Laval/CNRS)

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SOCLIM : Southern Ocean and Climate

The Southern Ocean plays a key role in our planet’s climate. Occupying a central position among Earth’s waters, it cools nearly half the water volume on the planet by about 2°C.

The Microbial Oceanography Laboratory, the Villefrance Oceanography Laboratory and the Dynamic Meteorology Laboratory have teamed up to collect new data on this ocean. Participating scientists will share their discoveries online at

Illustration : Péninsule antarctique - océan Austral © Edouard LEYMARIE (Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche-sur-Mer / CNRS /

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CPATEMP : Continental Past Temperatures since the last glacial cycle and recently developed organic biomarkers

By studying the history of our climate, scientists intend to explore how the mechanisms of natural climate change, at times abrupt, may combine with climate irregularities tied to human activity.

The European Center for Research and Education in Environmental Geoscience (CEREGE) pursues this mission by improving our understanding of biomarkers present in sediment layers of large lakes.

Illustration : Vue de haut des opérations de carottage depuis la partie supérieure de la plateforme (lac Barumbi Mbo, Cameroun, Février 2014) © Yannick Garcin

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INVACOST : Invasive Insects and their Cost Following Climate Change

Researchers know that certain organisms – both plants and animals – react to rising temperatures and change their behavior or usual habitats. A massive insect invasion will have far-reaching consequences. But what are the risks? To answer this question, the Université Paris Sud and the CNRS are studying twenty different insect species.

Illustration : Laboratoire Ecologie, Systématique, Evolution (Université Paris-Sud/CNRS/AgroParisTech) © Yann Stofer (2015)

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FATES : Fast Climate Changes, New Tools to Understand and simulate The evolution of the Earth system

Human activity is altering the composition of our atmosphere and causing climate change. The FATES project aims to study the natural global warming process that took place at the end of the most recent glacial period (~20,000 to ~10,000 B.C.), which is associated with a rise in atmospheric greenhouse gases and sea levels.

Illustration : concrétion calcaire, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (CEA/CNRS/UVSQ) © Julien Magre (2015)


Big Data & Climate

we support the online publication of the Global Carbon Atlas

Funding from the BNP Paribas Foundation allowed teams from the Global Carbon Project to set up an online platform enabling scientists from around the world to collaborate and share data on the carbon cycle.

The Global Carbon Atlas also includes a website where the general public can visualize, interpret and obtain the most recent measurements and data on global carbon flows.

Global Carbon Atlas 

This project is an online application created by scientists and research laboratories from around the world to publish all available data concerning CO2 emissions on a yearly basis.


2010-2013: Other research programs supported by the BNP Paribas Foundation


Access to the climate archives at Fontainebleau.
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Long-term effects of ocean acidification and experiments in the Mediterranean Sea.

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Climate forecast for the next 30 years.

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Retracing climate history through an innovative ice core drilling process in the Antarctic.