Ted Halstead

Ted Halstead (born July 25, 1968) is an American climate expert, 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 include climate policy, economic policy, environmental policy, healthcare, and political reform.[7][8]

Ted Halstead
BornJuly 25, 1968
Chicago, Illinois
EducationBachelor's from Dartmouth College and Master’s Degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government[1]
Alma materDartmouth College, Harvard University
Known forAuthor, public speaker, think tank founder

Halstead has 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]

Halstead gave a TED Talk in 2017 that has over 1.2 million views and has been translated into 18 languages.[11] He was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.[10][12]


Halstead earned his bachelor's degree in 1990[13] 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.[14]

Think tanks founded

Redefining Progress

In 1993, at age 25, Halstead founded Redefining Progress,[15] 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),[16] 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.[17]

In 1997, Redefining Progress organized the Economists' Statement on Climate Change[18] to promote market-based solutions to climate change. Over 2,600 economists[18] and 19 Nobel Prize winners signed the statement. It remains the largest public statement in the history of the economics profession.

Redefining Progress and Halstead also promoted the idea of a revenue-neutral carbon tax,[19] which the government of British Columbia was the first to implement in 2008.[20]

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,[21] 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.[22]

New America's mission is to bring new voices and new ideas into the public debate,[23] and to break out of the traditional liberal and conservative categories.[21] 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.[24]

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.”[25] As a result, New America became known in its early years as a "Radical Centrist" think tank.[21]

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".[15]

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.[26]

Climate Leadership Council

Halstead is the founder, Chairman and CEO of the Climate Leadership Council, an international research and advocacy organization whose mission is to mobilize global opinion leaders around the most effective, popular, and equitable climate solutions.[3][27]

As a central part of its mission, the Climate Leadership Council develops and promotes new policy frameworks based on carbon dividends—carbon taxes whose proceeds are returned to citizens in the form of dividends—adapted to each of the world's largest greenhouse gas emitting regions.[28] As of February 2017, the Climate Leadership Council was active in Washington and London and planned to expand to Berlin, Beijing and New Delhi.[29]

The Council was soft-launched on May 19, 2016,[30] with the publication of Halstead's white paper, "Unlocking the Climate Puzzle".[31] 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 report also argues that this proposal is well suited to the political moment in 2016, as it responds to five key trends: nationalism, inequality, populism, weak growth, and political polarization.

The Climate Leadership Council was officially launched on February 8, 2017 with the publication of "The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends",[29] co-authored by James A. Baker III, Martin Feldstein, Halstead, Gregory Mankiw, Henry M. Paulson, Jr., George P. Shultz, Thomas Stephenson, and Rob Walton.[29][32] 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."[27]

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.[33] As of June 2018, this TED Talk had received over 1.2 million views and was translated into 18 languages.[11][34]

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[29] can overcome each of these barriers.[11][33][35]

In his talk, Halstead states, “I’m convinced that the road to climate progress in the United Stated runs through the Republican party and the business community.”[35] 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.”[36][33]

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".[36][33]


In March 2008, shortly after getting married, Halstead and his wife Veronique Bardach set sail from France aboard a 50-foot Catana catamaran that they named Verite (a play on the first two letters of their names and of their dog Ria, who accompanied them).[6][37][38][2]

After sailing around the Mediterranean Sea and North Africa, they crossed the Atlantic Ocean, making landfall at St. Barts. Next they sailed throughout the Caribbean and visited Venezuela and Colombia before crossing the Panama Canal. From there, they sailed to French Polynesia with a stop in the Galapagos Islands, after which they visited much of the South Pacific and wintered in Hawaii. Their next major crossing took them to the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Australia en route to Indonesia, where they spent a season. They continued on to Malaysia and Thailand by way of the Malacca Strait.[37]

Although Halstead and his wife hoped to complete their 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.[37][27][39]


  • Ted Halstead and Michael Lind (2001). The Radical Center: The Future of American Politics. Doubleday. 264 pages. ISBN 0-385-50045-9
  • Ted Halstead (2004). The Real State of The Union. Basic Books. 287 pages. ISBN 0-465-05052-2


  1. "Ted Halstead". American Program Bureau. Archived from the original on March 30, 2012. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
  2. "Ted Halstead". Echoing Green. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  3. "Climate Leadership Council About Us". Climate Leadership Council. Climate leadership Council. Retrieved July 25, 2016.
  4. Friedman, Lisa; Schwartz, John; Garcia, Eduardo (2018-10-10). "The White House Approved a Climate Report (and What That Even Means)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-12-16.
  5. "Americans for Carbon Dividends About Us". Americans for Carbon Dividends. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  6. Cohen, Patricia (July 23, 2007). "Journalist Chosen to Lead A Public Policy Institute". The New York Times (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.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.
  10. "New America Board Bios". New America. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  11. Halstead, Ted. "A climate solution where all sides can win". TED. TED Conferences, LLC. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  12. "Young Global Leaders", weforum.org. No names or dates included in this webpage. Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  13. Sherman, Charles (April 6, 2002). "Daniel Webster Distinguished Service Award for 2002 - Opening Remarks". The Dartmouth Club of Washington, D.C. Archived from the original on November 20, 2004. Retrieved October 18, 2011. Ted Halstead, Dartmouth Class of 1990, marches to a different drummer. He worked his way through Dartmouth on a different schedule. He chooses different measures for economic and personal success. He uses different political labels. And he is already making a difference for thinkers of his generation and for the rest of us.
  14. 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.
  15. Morin, Richard; Deane, Claudia (Dec 10, 2001). "Big Thinker: Ted Halstead's New America Foundation Has It All: Money, Brains and Buzz". The Washington Post (p C.01).
  16. "Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI)". Redefining Progress. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  17. Cobb, Clifford; Halstead, Ted; Rowe, Jonathan (October 1995). "If The Economy Is Up, Why Is America Down?". The Atlantic.
  18. "Committee Reports 105th Congress (1997-1998), Senate Report 105-054". THOMAS. The Library of Congress. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  19. Halstead, Ted; Rowe, Jonathan (September 10, 1995). "The Green Revenue Path". Washington Post (Opinion).
  20. "Carbon Tax: Overview of The Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax". British Columbia Ministry of Finance. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  21. Lewis, Neil A. (May 15, 1999). "Silicon Valley's New Think Tank Stakes Out 'Radical Center'". New York Times.
  22. Weil, Martin; Silverman, Elissa (July 23, 2007). "Author, Ex-Post Editor To Head D.C. Think Tank". Washington Post.
  23. Editors, The (August 1999). "77 North Washington Street". The Atlantic Monthly (page 6).
  24. New America. "Board of Directors". Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  25. Amazon. "The Radical Center: The Future of American Politics". Amazon. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  26. Cohen, Patricia (April 2, 2013). "New America Foundation Naming Anne-Marie Slaughter as President". New York Times.
  27. Roston, Eric (February 10, 2017). "This Tax Could Save The Planet From Climate Change". Bloomberg. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  28. "Climate Leadership Council Home Page". Climate Leadership Council Home Page. Climate Leadership Council. Retrieved July 25, 2016.
  29. “The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends”, clcouncil.org, February 2017. Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  30. Flavelle, Christopher (May 20, 2016). "A Carbon Dividend Is a Great Idea... Somewhere Else". Bloomberg View. Archived from the original on 2017-03-20.
  31. Halstead, Ted (May 19, 2016). "Unlocking the Climate Puzzle" (PDF). Climate Leadership Council. Retrieved July 25, 2016.
  32. John Schwartz (February 7, 2017). "'A Conservative Climate Solution': Republican Group Calls for Carbon Tax". The New York Times. Retrieved April 17, 2017. The group, led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, with former Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Henry M. Paulson Jr., a former secretary of the Treasury, says that taxing carbon pollution produced by burning fossil fuels is “a conservative climate solution” based on free-market principles.
  33. YouTube. "A climate solution where all sides can win, Ted Halstead". Youtube. YouTube. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  34. S4CD. "TED TALK: ALL SIDES CAN WIN". S4CD. S4CD. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  35. Komanoff, Charles. "A climate solution when all sides can win". Carbon Tax Center. Carbon Tax Center. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  36. TED Conferences. "Transcript of: A climate solution where all sides can win". TED.com. TED Conferences LLP. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  37. Halstead, Ted (June 7, 2011). "Beginner's Luck". Cruising World (June 2011). Cruising World. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  38. Bloomberg. "Ted Halstead. Executive Profile". Bloomberg. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  39. TED Talks. "Ted Halstead Speaker Bio". TED.com. TED.com. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
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