Non-profit

Climate Leadership Council (CLC)

Website:

www.clcouncil.org

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

81-3115310

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Formation:

2017

Type:

Carbon Tax and Dividend Plan Advocate

Founder:

Ted Halstead

The Climate Leadership Council (CLC) is an organization of former government officials, intellectuals, and businessmen who advocate for a carbon tax. The organization was founded in 2017 by Ted Halstead, an environmentalist activist and founder of the center-left think tank New America Foundation. [1] CLC is affiliated with the advocacy group Americans for Carbon Dividends (AFCD).

The CLC tries to sell its plan as a “conservative” plan because the carbon tax is “revenue neutral” and the plan was authored by former Republican officials. [2] But the CLC’s founding members and leadership include several members who are known for their center-left views.

Proposal

The CLC advocates for a carbon tax proposal written by former Republican U.S. Secretaries of State James Baker and George Shultz. The plan proposes a gradually rising carbon tax with the proceeds being returned to the American people in the form of a “carbon dividend.” In exchange for implementing the carbon tax, all carbon regulations such as the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, would be repealed. [3]

A carbon tax would result in higher energy prices for American consumers. [4]

In addition to the carbon tax, a border adjustment tax would be imposed on countries that do not have a carbon tax. If an American company exported to a country with a carbon tax, it would receive a tax break from the American government. On the other hand, if an American company imported anything from a company that does not have a carbon tax, it would face a tariff. [5]

Wall Street Journal Op-Ed

On September 22, 2019, Ted Halstead, founder of the Climate Leadership Council (CLC), and Christopher Crane, president and CEO of energy company Exelon (a member of the CLC), released an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal detailing a preview of the CLC’s “Bipartisan Roadmap.” [6] The goal of this plan would be to use carbon dividends as a means of cutting U.S. carbon emissions in half by 2035. The proposal would apply a carbon fee of $40 per ton of CO2, which would increase annually at 5% above inflation, and would displace all current or proposed carbon regulations. According to the op-ed, if initiated by 2021 the new plan would both achieve the 50% reduction in U.S. CO2 emission by 2035 as well as exceed the U.S.’s commitment under the Paris Agreement “by a wide margin” by 2025. [7] The article claims that about 70% of American families will benefit as they will recieve more in carbon dividends than the amount they would pay due to increased energy costs through the plan. [8]

Leadership

Ted Halstead currently serves as the chairman and CEO of CLC. He is the founder of the left-leaning New America Foundation, a think tank in Washington D.C. [9] In 2017, Halstead received total compensation of $256,311. [10]

Greg Bertelsen is the group’s executive vice president. His role includes reaching out to Congress and the business community. He previously worked at the National Association of Manufacturers and served as an adviser to the Environmental Protection Agency on environmental justice issues. [11] In 2017, Bertelsen received total compensation of $143,195. [12]

Simone Frank works as the group’s chief financial officer. She also serves as a senior adviser for the centrist Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Previously, she worked at the New America Foundation. [13] In 2017, Frank received total compensation of $68,400. [14]

Jill L. Sigal is CLC’s senior vice president. She previously worked as Acting Assistant Secretary of Energy in the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs; in 2005, she was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve as Assistant Secretary of Energy to the Bush administration. [15] In 2017, Sigal received total compensation of $181,814. [16]

Board of Directors

CLC has a six-person board of directors. Halstead serves as the board’s chairman. [17] [18]

Board member Juleanna Glover is a lobbyist who is a former staffer in the President George W. Bush administration.

Robert Litterman in addition to serving on the CLC board serves on the boards of the World Wildlife Fund, the Commonfund, and Resources for the Future.

Craig McCaw also serves on the board of the Hoover Institution and was the former chair of The Nature Conservancy. McCaw’s private foundation, the Craig and Susan McCaw Foundation, granted $500,000 to CLC in 2017. [19]

Martin “Marty” Kaplan is a former chair of the Massachusetts Board of Education. Kaplan was a trustee for the Germeshausen Foundation, a major funder of CLC, from the 1980s to approximately 2014. [20]

Gary Rieschel is the founding partner of Qiming Venture Partners, one of China’s largest venture capital firms.

Founding Members and Strategic Partners

CLC has a long list of founding members including corporations, nongovernmental organizations, and former government officials. Among the corporations supporting CLC are AECOM, Allianz, AT&T, BP, Conoco Phillips, Exelon, ExxonMobil, First Solar, GM, Johnson & Johnson, MetLife, P&G, PepsiCo, Santander, Schneider Electric, Shell, Total, and Unilever. [21]

A financial website speculated that many of these companies, especially the oil and gas companies, had ulterior motives to joining the CLC. The biggest beneficiaries, especially in the short run, would oil and gas companies. A carbon tax would force many coal fired plants to convert to cleaner natural gas. The multinational members would also be protecting themselves from a potential carbon tariff from other countries if the U.S. implemented a carbon tax. [22]

Three NGOs have also joined the CLC: Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, and the World Wildlife Fund. [23]

Several people have joined CLC in their individual capacity. Fomer Federal Reserve chairs Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellin are members. Former Obama administration Energy Secretary Steven Chu is also a member. Former Clinton administration Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers is also a member. [24] There are also members who served in Republican administrations such as Christine Todd Whitman, Martin Feldstein, and Gregory Mankiw.

CLC has numerous organizations as strategic partners. They include the Atlantic Council, American Wind Energy Association, Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, Citizens Climate Lobby, Clean Prosperity, Evangelical Environmental Network, New America, Policy Exchange, republicEn, The Weather Channel, and the World Resources Institute. [25]

Funding

In 2017, CLC reported total revenues of $4.2 million (all of which came from grants), total expenditures of $1.4 million, and net assets of $2.8 million. [26]

The Climate Leadership Council was formed in 2017, so little data on its funding is available as of October 2019. However, data from the service FoundationSearch indicates 5 grants in 2016-2017 totaling $1.35 million to CLC: [27]

CLC has also been awarded substantial grants from Arnold Ventures, a for-profit extension of the left-wing mega-funder the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Between 2017 and 2021, Arnold Ventures has awarded CLC as much as $4.5 million; the final grant amounts remain unclear. [28]

Financial Documents

In 2016, the Climate Leadership Council filed a Form 990-N postcard with the IRS, indicating that the group received less than $50,000 in revenues for the year.

CLC’s 2017 IRS Form 990 filing is available here.

References

  1. “Ted Halstead”. 2019. Climate Leadership Council. Accessed February 23. https://www.clcouncil.org/ted-halstead/. ^
  2. Mooney, Chris, and Juliet Eilperin. 2017. “Senior Republican Statesmen Propose Replacing Obama’S Climate Policies With A Carbon Tax”. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/02/07/senior-republican-leaders-propose-replacing-obamas-climate-plans-with-a-carbon-tax. ^
  3. Mooney, Chris, and Juliet Eilperin. 2017. “Senior Republican Statesmen Propose Replacing Obama’S Climate Policies With A Carbon Tax”. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/02/07/senior-republican-leaders-propose-replacing-obamas-climate-plans-with-a-carbon-tax. ^
  4. Wald, Ellen. 2017. “The Climate Leadership Council’s Devious Plan To Distract American Carbon Consumers”. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/ellenrwald/2017/06/20/the-climate-leadership-councils-devious-plan-to-distract-american-carbon-consumers/amp/. ^
  5. Wald, Ellen. 2017. “The Climate Leadership Council’s Devious Plan To Distract American Carbon Consumers”. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/ellenrwald/2017/06/20/the-climate-leadership-councils-devious-plan-to-distract-american-carbon-consumers/amp/. ^
  6. Crane, Christopher, and Ted Halstead. “Opinion | How to Cut Emissions Without Wrecking the Economy.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, September 22, 2019. https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-cut-emissions-without-wrecking-the-economy-11569184262. ^
  7. Crane, Christopher, and Ted Halstead. “Opinion | How to Cut Emissions Without Wrecking the Economy.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, September 22, 2019. https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-cut-emissions-without-wrecking-the-economy-11569184262. ^
  8. Crane, Christopher, and Ted Halstead. “Opinion | How to Cut Emissions Without Wrecking the Economy.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, September 22, 2019. https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-cut-emissions-without-wrecking-the-economy-11569184262. ^
  9. “Ted Halstead”. 2019. Climate Leadership Council. Accessed February 23. https://www.clcouncil.org/ted-halstead/. ^
  10. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Climate Leadership Council. 2017. Schedule A. Part VII. ^
  11. “Greg Bertelsen”. 2019. Climate Leadership Council. Accessed February 23. https://www.clcouncil.org/greg-bertelsen/. ^
  12. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Climate Leadership Council. 2017. Schedule A. Part VII. ^
  13. “Simone Frank”. 2019. Climate Leadership Council. Accessed February 23. https://www.clcouncil.org/simone-frank/. ^
  14. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Climate Leadership Council. 2017. Schedule A. Part VII. ^
  15. “Personnel Announcement.” The White House. May 6, 2005. Accessed October 31, 2019. https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2005/05/20050506-2.html ^
  16. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Climate Leadership Council. 2017. Schedule A. Part VII. ^
  17. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Climate Leadership Council. 2017. Schedule A. Part VII. ^
  18. “Board Of Directors”. 2019. Climate Leadership Council. Accessed February 23. https://www.clcouncil.org/board/. ^
  19. Information provided by FoundationSearch. Climate Leadership Council. Accessed October 31, 2019. www.FoundationSearch.com ^
  20. “About.” Germeshausen Foundation (archived page). Archived April 21, 2014. Accessed October 30, 2019. https://web.archive.org/web/20140421224233/http://www.germeshausen.org/about.htm ^
  21. “Founding Members”. 2019. Climate Leadership Council. Accessed February 23. https://www.clcouncil.org/founding-members/. ^
  22. Brown, Tristan. 2017. “Big Oil In The Climate Leadership Council: It’s About More Than Just The Gas”. Seeking Alpha. https://seekingalpha.com/article/4083971-big-oil-climate-leadership-council-just-gas.    ^
  23. “Founding Members”. 2019. Climate Leadership Council. Accessed February 23. https://www.clcouncil.org/founding-members/. ^
  24. “Founding Members”. 2019. Climate Leadership Council. Accessed February 23. https://www.clcouncil.org/founding-members/. ^
  25. “Strategic Partners”. 2019. Climate Leadership Council. Accessed February 23. https://www.clcouncil.org/strategic-partners/. ^
  26. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Climate Leadership Council. 2017. Schedule A. Part I. Lines 8, 12, 18, 22. ^
  27. Information provided by FoundationSearch. Climate Leadership Council. Accessed October 31, 2019. www.FoundationSearch.com ^
  28. “Grants List.” Arnold Ventures. Accessed October 31, 2019. Original URL: https://www.arnoldventures.org/grants-list/p2?focus=other. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/Arnold-Ventures-Grants-List.-10.2019.pdf. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Gary Rieschel
    Board Member
  2. Martin Kaplan
    Board Member
  3. Kathryn Murdoch
    Board Member
  4. Robert Litterman
    Economic Advisory Council Member
  5. Juleanna Glover
    Board Member
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 1, 2016

  • Available Filings

    No filings available.

    Climate Leadership Council (CLC)

    1250 CONNECTICUT AVE NW STE 625
    WASHINGTON, DC 20036-2667