King Climate Action Initiative (K-CAI)

clean energy rural india
Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith/UK DFID
The King Climate Action Initiative (K-CAI) at J-PAL generates evidence and catalyzes the scale-up of high-impact policy solutions at the nexus of climate change and poverty alleviation in partnership with governments, NGOs, donors, and companies worldwide.


Climate change disproportionately affects people living in poverty and threatens to reverse decades of progress in global poverty alleviation. Leaders around the world need more evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of technological and policy innovations in the real world to direct limited resources to solutions that address climate change and poverty.

K-CAI works in collaboration with policymakers, technology developers, and climate and social scientists to evaluate innovative policies and technologies in the real world and catalyze the scale-up of solutions that reduce carbon emissions and carbon co-pollutants, build vulnerable communities’ ability to adapt to climate change, and increase access to affordable energy.

K-CAI is funded by a generous gift from King Philanthropies. Guided by the vision of its founders, Robert E. (Bob) King and Dorothy J. (Dottie) King, King Philanthropies' mission is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the world’s poorest people by multiplying the impact of high-performing leaders and organizations. Read more about the origins of K-CAI. 

Funding Partners 


King Philanthropies logo

Key Facts

J-PAL Global
  • Research RFP: Open
Open to all J-PAL affiliates, J-PAL postdocs, K-CAI invited researchers, and PhD students who have a J-PAL affiliate or K-CAI invited researcher on their thesis committee.

About K-CAI

The global climate and energy challenge

Greenhouse gas emissions drive climate-related harms that disproportionately affect people living in poverty worldwide. Many of these consequences are already being felt through worsening food security and extreme weather events that damage economies and displace populations. The same activities that generate carbon emissions generate other pollutants that contribute to public health crises in urban centers in low- and middle-income countries. At the same time, in many parts of the world, access to affordable energy is urgently needed to support economic growth that can create opportunities to lift people out of poverty and help them better adapt to climate change. Yet without innovations in technology and policy, most of this demand will likely be met by the very fossil fuels that cause climate change and severe local pollution. 

Four focus areas for research and scale

In response to this global climate and energy challenge, the King Climate Action Initiative at J-PAL (K-CAI) designs, pilots, evaluates, and scales cost-effective, high-impact policy solutions at the nexus of climate change and poverty alleviation. K-CAI supports rigorous randomized evaluations and scale-ups of effective programs and policies to tackle the four greatest climate-related challenges facing our world: climate change mitigationpollution reduction, climate change adaptation, and energy access.

Speeding up the path from research to policy action

To speed up the path from research to policy action, K-CAI prioritizes research that uses administrative and remote sensing data to generate results more quickly and, where possible, quick-response evaluations that provide results and recommendations to policymakers in time for key decisions. K-CAI also encourages evaluations with policy partners that seek to scale up interventions that are found to be effective.

For Researchers

Request for Proposals

K-CAI’s Fall 2021 RFP for both research and scaling projects is currently closed. We will launch our fourth RFP in Spring 2022.

K-CAI Staff

Contact: [email protected]

Full team: 

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