Our History


In 2017, Secretaries of State James A. Baker and George P. Shultz along with our Founder, Ted Halstead, and other prominent Republicans published The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividendsthe first Republican-led market-based climate solution.

The distinguished co-authors of the carbon dividends plan recognized that a successful climate policy must help families and create better opportunities for American workers. They also knew that to be a durable solution, it must ultimately earn the support of both Republicans and Democrats.

Soon after, a coalition of major companies, top environmental organizations, and opinion leaders from both the right and the left announced in a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal that they were joining forces to develop and promote the plan.

This Founding Member coalition continued to add more prominent organizations and opinion leaders. Simultaneously, thousands of American economists, including 28 Nobel laureates, endorsed the approach in the Economists’ Statement on Carbon Dividends.

The work of the Founding Members culminated in the Council’s publication of its Bipartisan Climate Roadmap in 2020, capping a lengthy collaborative process to refine the details of the four-pillar plan. The roadmap was endorsed by major editorial boards and lays the groundwork for carbon dividends legislation.

Furthering its commitment to innovative market-based solutions, the Council expanded its portfolio in 2022 by launching the Center for Climate and Trade to explore and advance trade policies that can support reducing global emissions.

As the Council continues expanding its work, the focus remains rooted in leveraging market forces to incentivize clean technology investments, innovation, and lower emissions.

Ted Halstead
Climate Leadership Council Founder

May 22, 2019
Washington Post Editorial Board
February 13, 2020

Original Co-Authors


James A. Baker, III, served as Secretary of State under President George H.W. Bush, Secretary of the Treasury under President Reagan and White House chief of staff under both. He is a senior partner in the law firm of Baker Botts.

Henry M. Paulson, Jr., served as Secretary of the Treasury under President George W. Bush. Previously, he served as chairman and chief executive officer at Goldman Sachs. He is the founder and chairman of the Paulson Institute.

Martin Feldstein served as Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1982 to 1984 under President Reagan. Before his passing in 2019, he was the George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University and President Emeritus of the NBER.

George P. Shultz served as Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan, and as Secretary of Treasury and Labor under President Nixon. Before his passing in 2021, he was the Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Ted Halstead founded the Climate Leadership Council and served as its chairman and CEO until his untimely passing in September 2020. Previously, he founded New America, a leading public policy think tank. He co-authored The Radical Center: The Future Of American Politics.

Thomas Stephenson is a partner at Sequoia Capital, a venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley. Stephenson previously served as the United States Ambassador to Portugal from 2007 to 2009 under President George W. Bush.

N. Gregory Mankiw served as Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2003 to 2005 under President George W. Bush. He is the Robert M. Beren Professor of Economics at Harvard University.

Rob Walton served as chairman of the board of Walmart, the world’s largest retailer and employer, from 1992 to 2015. He is currently Chairman of the Executive Committee of Conservation International.