Ted Halstead (born July 25, 1968) is an American author, public speaker and social entrepreneur who founded three public policy think tanks, including New America and the Climate Leadership Council. His areas of expertise include economic policy, climate policy, environmental policy, healthcare and political reform, among others.
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 Financial Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times and the Harvard Business Review, among other publications.
Halstead was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.
Halstead earned his bachelor's degree in 1990 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.
Think Tanks Founded
Climate Leadership Council
Halstead is the founder and CEO of the Climate Leadership Council, a new international research and advocacy organization whose mission is to mobilize global opinion leaders around the most effective, popular and equitable climate solutions.
As a central part of its mission, the Climate Leadership Council will develop and promote new policy frameworks based on carbon taxes and climate dividends adapted to each of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitting regions. The Council intends to establish offices in Washington, Beijing, Berlin and New Delhi.
The Climate Leadership Council was soft-launched on May 19, 2016, with the release of Halstead’s white paper, “Unlocking the Climate Puzzle.” This report summarizes the psychological, economic and geopolitical reasons that climate progress is deadlocked, and suggests that a carbon dividends plan could overcome each of these barriers. It also explores why this proposal is well suited to our political moment, as it responds to five of today's defining trends: nationalism, inequality, populism, weak growth, and political polarization.
Now in its startup phase, the Climate Leadership Council will launch officially in January 2017.
Halstead founded New America (formerly known as New America Foundation) in 1999, at the age of 30, and served as founding President & CEO until 2007. Under his leadership, the organization grew rapidly to a staff of 100 and an annual budget of $10 million.
New America’s mission is to bring new voices and new ideas into the public debate, and to break out of the traditional liberal and conservative categories. James Fallows was the original chairman of New America’s board of directors. Google's Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, is the current chairman.
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.”
New America Foundation began life as Vision Trust. Bill Moyers, president of the Florence and John Schuman Foundation, funded the trust with a seed of $200,000, on the condition that Halstead change the name.
In 1993, at age 25, Halstead founded Redefining Progress, a green economic think tank based in San Francisco, with a $15,000 seed grant from Echoing Green. Halstead served as Executive Director from 1993 to 1997.
In 1995, Redefining Progress released the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), 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.
In 1997, Redefining Progress organized the Economists’ Statement on Climate Change to promote market-based solutions to climate change. Over 2,600 economists and 17 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, which the government of British Columbia was the first to implement in 2008.
Halstead stepped down as Executive Director of Redefining Progress in 1997, and moved to a board of directors role. Redefining Progress closed its doors in 2008.