Ted Halstead
Born(1968-07-25)July 25, 1968
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedSeptember 2, 2020(2020-09-02) (aged 52)
Alma materDartmouth College
Harvard University[1]
OccupationAuthor, public speaker, think tank founder

Ted Halstead (July 25, 1968 – September 2, 2020) was an American author, policy entrepreneur,[2] and public speaker[1] who has founded four non-profit think tanks and advocacy organizations: the Climate Leadership Council,[3] Americans for Carbon Dividends,[4][5] New America,[6] and Redefining Progress. His areas of expertise included climate policy, economic policy, environmental policy, healthcare, and political reform.[7][8]

Halstead published numerous articles and two books, including The Radical Center: The Future of American Politics (co-authored with Michael Lind). His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,[9] the Financial Times, Fortune, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, National Review, and the Harvard Business Review, among other publications.[10]

He was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.[10][11]


Halstead earned his bachelor's degree in 1990[12] from Dartmouth College, where he graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in philosophy. He received his MPA in 1998 from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where he was a Montgomery Fellow.[13]

Climate Leadership Council

Halstead was the founder, Chairman and CEO of the Climate Leadership Council. The Climate Leadership Council aims to promote a carbon dividends framework as the most cost-effective, politically-viable and equitable climate solution, and was founded in collaboration with a who's who of business, opinion and environmental leaders.[14]

The Climate Leadership Council was soft-launched on May 19, 2016,[15] with the publication of Halstead's white paper, "Unlocking the Climate Puzzle".[16] This report summarizes the economic, geopolitical, and psychological reasons that climate progress is deadlocked, and suggests that a carbon dividends plan could overcome each of these barriers.

The Climate Leadership Council was officially launched on February 8, 2017 with the publication of "The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends", co-authored by James A. Baker III, Martin Feldstein, Halstead, Gregory Mankiw, Henry M. Paulson Jr., George P. Shultz, Thomas Stephenson, and Rob Walton.[17] This report argues that a new climate strategy based on carbon dividends can strengthen America's economy, reduce regulation, help working-class Americans, shrink government, and promote national security. A profile in Bloomberg suggested the release of this report "may be the biggest day for climate policy since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015."[14]

Since then, the Climate Leadership Council has recruited a number of "Founding Members" which include:

The Climate Leadership Council's Baker-Shultz Carbon Dividends Plan is based on four inter-dependent pillars: (1) a gradually rising carbon fee, (2) carbon dividends for all Americans, (3) significant regulatory simplification, and (4) border carbon adjustment.[19]

In 2019, the Climate Leadership Council helped organize the largest and most prominent public statement in the history of the economics profession.[20][21]  The Economists Statement on Carbon Dividends, first published in The Wall Street Journal, was signed by over 3,500 U.S. economists, including all four living former Chairs of the Federal Reserve (Janet Yellen, Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker), 27 Nobel Laureate economists, and 15 former Chairs of the President's Council of Economic Advisors.[22][23]

Americans for Carbon Dividends

Halstead was founding CEO of Americans For Carbon Dividends, a 501(c)(4) lobbying organization whose purpose is to promote a national carbon dividends solution.[24][25] The national co-chairs of Americans for Carbon Dividends are former Republican Senate majority leader Trent Lott and former Democratic Senator John Breaux.[26][27] Americans for Carbon Dividends was publicly launched in June 2018 with the publication of a New York Times op-ed by Senators Lott and Breaux, entitled “How to Break the Climate Impasse.”[28][29]

Americans for Carbon Dividends is funded by a wide range of interests, including leading auto manufacturers, tech companies, energy companies and trade associations from across the economy, including those in oil and gas, solar, wind, nuclear and geothermal.[30][31][32] Americans for Carbon Dividends represents the first time that leading oil and gas companies have put their money behind a meaningful national price on carbon, and the first time that such a broad coalition of U.S. energy interests have co-funded an advocacy campaign to promote a price on carbon.[33][34]

As of January 2020, corporate funders of Americans for Carbon Dividends include: AWEA, BP, Calpine, ConocoPhillips, EDF Renewables, Exelon, ExxonMobil, First Solar, Ford, GM, IBM, Shell and Vistra Energy.[35][36][37][38]

The leadership of Americans for Carbon Dividends also includes former Republican member of Congress Ryan Costello as Managing Director, Steve Rice as Managing Director and Greg Bertelsen as Executive Vice President.[25][39][40]

Previous organizations founded

Redefining Progress

In 1993, at age 25, Halstead founded Redefining Progress,[41] an environmental economics think tank based in San Francisco, with a $15,000 seed grant from Echoing Green.[2] Halstead served as Executive Director from 1993 to 1997.

In 1995, Redefining Progress released the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI),[42] an alternative to the GDP that takes social and environmental costs into account. The GPI was launched in an October 1995 cover story in The Atlantic entitled "If The Economy Is Up, Why Is America Down?" that Halstead co-authored with colleagues Clifford Cobb and Jonathan Rowe.[43]

In 1997, Redefining Progress organized the Economists' Statement on Climate Change[44] to promote market-based solutions to climate change. Over 2,600 economists[44] and 19 Nobel Prize winners signed the statement.

Redefining Progress and Halstead also promoted the idea of a revenue-neutral carbon tax,[45] which the government of British Columbia was the first to implement in 2008.[46]

Halstead stepped down as Executive Director of Redefining Progress in 1997, moving into a position on the board. Redefining Progress closed its doors in 2008.

New America

Halstead founded New America (formerly known as New America Foundation) in 1999,[47] at the age of 30, and served as founding President and CEO until 2007. Under his leadership, the organization grew rapidly to a staff of 100 and an annual budget of $10 million.[48]

New America's original mission was to bring new voices and new ideas into the public debate,[49] and to break out of the traditional liberal and conservative categories.[47] James Fallows was the original chairman of New America's board of directors. Eric Schmidt, former Executive Chairman of Google and Alphabet Inc, served as chairman of New America's Board from 2008 to 2016.[50]

Shortly after founding New America, Halstead and Michael Lind co-authored "The Radical Center: The Future of American Politics," which Senator John McCain described as “A political manifesto worthy of the Information Age.”[51] As a result, New America became known in its early years as a "Radical Centrist" think tank.[47]

On December 10, 2001, The Washington Post published a Styles Section profile on Halstead entitled "Big Thinker: Ted Halstead's New America Foundation Has It All: Money, Brains and Buzz".[41]

Steve Coll succeeded Halstead as President and CEO of New America in 2007.[6] Anne-Marie Slaughter became New America's third President and CEO in 2013.[52]

TED Talk

On May 17, 2017, Halstead delivered a TED Talk entitled “A Climate Solution Where All Sides Can Win” at the 2017 TED Annual Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.[53] As of December 2019, this TED Talk had received over 1.5 million views and was translated into 20 languages.[54][55]

Halstead begins his TED talk by detailing what he sees as the three main barriers to climate progress: a) the psychological barrier; b) the geopolitical barrier; and c) the partisan barrier. He goes on to explain how the conservative carbon dividends plan that he co-authored with leading Republican statesmen[56] can overcome each of these barriers.[54][53][57]

In his talk, Halstead states, “I'm convinced that the road to climate progress in the United States runs through the Republican party and the business community.”[57] He also explains that under their plan, “We would end up with less regulation and far less pollution at the same time, while helping working class Americans get ahead.”[58][53]

At the end of the talk, TED Curator Chris Anderson came on stage for a Q&A session with Halstead, and began by saying: "I'm not sure I've seen a conservative get a standing ovation at TED before".[58][53]


In March 2008, shortly after getting married, Halstead and his wife Veronique Bardach set sail and departed westward from France aboard a 50-foot Catana catamaran yacht that they named Verite (a play on the first two letters of their names and of their dog Ria, who accompanied them).[6][59][60][2]

Although Halstead and his wife hoped to complete a circumnavigation by returning to the Mediterranean via the Red Sea, the piracy situation in the Gulf of Aden in 2012 was too dangerous to permit this. So they sold their boat in Bali in late 2012 after 4.5 years of non-stop sailing, during which they visited 5 continents.[59][14][61]


Halstead died in Spain on September 2, 2020, when he fell 30 meters while hiking.[62][63]



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  2. ^ a b c "Ted Halstead". Echoing Green. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
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  6. ^ a b c Cohen, Patricia (July 23, 2007). "Journalist Chosen to Lead A Public Policy Institute". The New York Times. No. Arts Section.
  7. ^ Martin Feldstein, Ted Halstead, N Gregory Mankiw (February 8, 2017). "A Conservative Case for Climate Action". New York Times. Retrieved March 22, 2017.((cite news)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Ted Halstead, Michael Lind (2001). The Radical Center: The Future of American Politics. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-50045-9.
  9. ^ Crane, Christopher; Halstead, Ted (September 22, 2019). "How to Cut Emissions Without Wrecking the Economy". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
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  13. ^ Tamer, Mary (March 9, 2001). "Public Service Innovators". Alumni Stories. Harvard University. Retrieved October 18, 2011. Ted Halstead (MPA 1998) started his first think tank -- Redefining Progress -- at the age of 25 with a $15,000 grant. Four years later after growing it into a $2 million institute, he was off to the Kennedy School. From there, Halstead launched a second think tank, the New America Foundation, a $4 million public policy institute with an agenda to introduce new voices and views with a bipartisan tone.
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  25. ^ a b "AFCD: About Us". Americans for Carbon Dividends.
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  32. ^ Siegel, Josh (December 19, 2019). "GM and Ford joining push for GOP-backed carbon tax". Washington Examiner.
  33. ^ Ydstie, John (October 10, 2018). "With $1 Million, Exxon Mobil Corp Helps Fund Carbon Tax Campaign". NPR.
  34. ^ Colman, Zack (June 21, 2018). "Another GOP group wants to tax carbon. Does it matter?". E&E News.
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  43. ^ Cobb, Clifford; Halstead, Ted; Rowe, Jonathan (October 1995). "If The Economy Is Up, Why Is America Down?". The Atlantic.
  44. ^ a b "Committee Reports 105th Congress (1997-1998), Senate Report 105-054". THOMAS. The Library of Congress. Retrieved April 30, 2016.[permanent dead link]
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  63. ^ "Fallece un senderista al caer por un acantilado de 30 metros en es Capdellà". September 2, 2020.