In Memoriam: Environmental Champion Phil Clapp

Our guest blogger is Daniel J. Weiss, a Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

clapp.gifThe effort to stop global warming lost one of its leading champions with the passing of Philip E. Clapp, Deputy Managing Director of the Pew Environment Group. He was the founder and President of the National Environmental Trust, which began in 1994 and merged with Pew in 2007. He was an advocate at Clean Water Action, and worked for then Rep. Tim Wirth (D-CO) to strengthen the Clean Air Act.

“Phil was an environmental hero who vigorously advocated the prompt reduction of global warming pollution,” said John Podesta, President and CEO of Center for American Progress. “His was a prominent voice for action, particularly in the international arena. He will be sorely missed.”

Phil strived to solve a number of environmental threats to human health, including smog, acid rain, toxic air pollution, and hazardous waste, among others. He made his greatest mark as an early and forceful advocate against global warming. Phil provided leadership in the international NGO community to ensure that their voices were heard at international negotiations over the planet’s fate. He was an expert at translating complicated discussions and convoluted proposals into every day concepts that the public, media, and public officials could understand.

Phil Clapp was both a dedicated environmentalist and a savvy politician. He was a strategic big thinker and an effective tactician. His first foray into politics occurred at age 15 when he left his Los Angeles home to go to New Hampshire in 1968 to work for Sen. Eugene McCarthy’s (D-MN) presidential campaign. That was his launching pad for a life dedicated to the pursuit of a cleaner, safer, healthier nation and planet.

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