A New Day for Ecomodernism

Big Changes at the Breakthrough Institute

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December 10, 2015 | Michael Shellenberger & Ted Nordhaus

Over a decade ago, the three of us created the Breakthrough Institute to help build a better environmental movement. The publication of “An Ecomodernist Manifesto” in April of this year represents the culmination of that effort. The manifesto has been translated by volunteers into 10 additional languages, and has become a touchstone for conversations about how to advance human development while protecting the natural environment.

Meanwhile, with the recent announcement by Bill Gates, President Barack Obama and a dozen nations that they would double global funding for energy innovation, it has become clear that the framework of climate policymaking has decisively shifted from making fossil fuels expensive to making clean energy cheap, thanks in no small measure to the work of Breakthrough Institute, Breakthrough Fellows and Senior Fellows, and our ecomodernist allies around the world.

As ecomodernism has grown and matured, it has become clear to the three of us that the movement has outgrown the organization that we created in order to help launch it. There is more to be done than a single organization can take on while maintaining the clarity and focus that is necessary to do great work. And there is an expanding need to speak with different voices to different audiences. 

So we are excited to announce some big changes at Breakthrough. Effective January 1st, 2016, Peter Teague will become Breakthrough’s Interim Executive Director and Ted will become our first Director of Research. Under Peter’s leadership Breakthrough will continue its groundbreaking, paradigm-shifting research, analysis, and advocacy for an ecomodernist future. 

Michael Shellenberger will leave his long-time role as President of Breakthrough to become a Breakthrough Senior Fellow. With generous support from Rachel Pritzker and Roland Pritzker of the Pritzker Innovation Fund, and input from Breakthrough friends and allies, Michael will be engaging in a strategic assessment over the coming months of what the ecomodernist movement needs to achieve its mission. In addition to growing ecomodernism, Michael will continue his deep commitment to ensuring modern energy access for developing nations and protecting and expanding nuclear energy.

The three of us are excited to continue our long-standing collaboration in new roles in service of a movement whose reach and influence is expanding rapidly around the world. We are grateful to Breakthrough’s supporters and to the ecomodernist movement. The best is yet to come.

 

— Peter, Ted, and Michael   


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