Statement from the Climate Leadership Council on the Passing of Founder Ted Halstead

September 8, 2020

We are deeply saddened to announce that our founder and CEO Ted Halstead died suddenly in a hiking accident last week. Ted was more than a brilliant leader and climate policy pioneer; he was a visionary. With his irrepressible optimism, he inspired not only his peers, staff and friends but also a younger generation of climate activists, whom he energized to work towards positive change. In his determination to solve the world’s greatest environmental challenge, Ted created an improbable coalition in support of a bipartisan plan that he promoted with uncommon persistence. He deployed a lifetime of skills and talents to make the case for this plan. Ted had an incredible gift for language, which he used to great effect testifying before Congress, in one of the most widely viewed TED Talks on climate, and in elegantly penned op-eds in the leading newspapers. He accomplished all this while living a bicontinental existence so he could spend time with his wife and daughter, to whom he was totally devoted. While Ted’s passing is a tremendous loss to the Council and the climate cause, we are committed to honoring his legacy by seeing his plan enacted into law. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family.

The Council’s board of directors elected Kathryn Murdoch and Robert Litterman as interim co-chairs and appointed Greg Bertelsen as acting CEO.

Statement from James A. Baker, III, co-author of the Council’s carbon dividends plan:

“Ted was the heartbeat of the Climate Leadership Council’s effort to reduce carbon dioxide from the Earth’s atmosphere by means of a carbon dividend program. Bright, personable and energetic, every effort he made to accomplish that goal was done with his determination to craft a way forward that all sides of the debate could support. I will miss Ted’s bright smile and firm belief that he could help us build a better world. I extend my heartfelt sympathy to his wife and family.

“I am confident that Greg Bertelsen will continue the strong brand of leadership that the Climate Leadership Council has displayed under Ted.”

Statement from George P. Shultz, co-author of the Council’s carbon dividends plan:

“Ted Halstead was an idealist and visionary who chose the hardest policy challenge and made it his mission to address it. With his great intellect, courage, and enormous gift for persuasion, he turned an academic concept into a fully-fledged, bipartisan climate plan and recruited a historic coalition in support of it. Ted was confident that Americans would come together to solve the climate challenge, and it pains me that he won’t be here to see that happen. I extend my deepest condolences to his wife and daughter.”