The Climate Principals


The Climate Principals are former US cabinet officials and chief climate negotiators who have represented Democratic and Republican administrations in global climate policy for nearly three decades – from the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to the 2015 Paris Agreement and beyond. 

The Climate Principals are listed chronologically, beginning with the George H.W. Bush Administration.

William Reilly

Former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

William  Reilly has enjoyed careers in public service, non-governmental organizations, and private sector finance. For more than 20 years he was a Senior Advisor to TPG Capital, an international investment partnership.

Before joining TPG, Mr. Reilly was the first Payne Visiting Professor at Stanford University.  He was Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 1989 to 1993. He served as president of World Wildlife Fund and later chairman of the board; president of The Conservation Foundation; and director of the Rockefeller Task Force on Land Use and Urban Growth. Mr. Reilly has chaired several other boards as well. From 1970-1972 he was a senior staff member at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Bruce Babbitt

Former Governor of Arizona and U.S. Secretary of the Interior

Governor Babbitt was elected to the governorship of Arizona in 1978 and served in the position through 1987, Before that, he served as the Attorney General of Arizona from 1975 to 1978. 

Appointed Secretary of the Interior by President Clinton in 1993, Babbitt served for eight years, during which he led in the creation of the forest plan in the Pacific Northwest, restoration of the Florida Everglades, the passage of the California Desert Protection Act, and legislation for the National Wildlife Refuge system.


Tim Wirth

former U.S Senator from Colorado and Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs

Senator Wirth was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986 where he focused on environmental issues. In 1988, he organized the historic Hansen hearings on climate change. He also authored the far-reaching Colorado Wilderness Bill which became law in 1993.

Following two decades of elected politics, Senator Wirth served as the national Co-chair of the Clinton-Gore campaign, and from 1993 to 1997 served in the U.S. Department of State as the first Undersecretary for Global Affairs.

As President of the UN Foundation from its inception in early 1998 to January 2013, Senator Wirth organized and led the formulation of the Foundation’s mission and program priorities, which include the environment, women and population, and children’s health.

Stuart Eizenstat

Former Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and Ambassador to the European Union

During a decade and a half of public service in three US administrations, Ambassador Eizenstat has held a number of key senior positions, including chief White House domestic policy adviser to President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981); U.S. Ambassador to the European Union; Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade; and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton Administration.

From 1997 to 1999, Ambassador Eizenstat served as the Under Secretary for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs and headed the U.S. delegation to the Kyoto Protocol negotiations.

Ambassador Eizenstat currently heads Covington & Burling’s international practice.  


Frank Loy

Former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs

Frank Loy has served in five Democratic administrations, having been appointed by Presidents Carter, Clinton, and Obama to senior State Department posts after serving in the administrations of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson.

Loy served as the Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs under President Bill Clinton, from 1998 to 2001. 

Since 2003 he has funded the annual Frank Loy Award for Environmental Diplomacy, awarded to State Department officers working in the field of climate or the environment.

 At present, he devotes his time to boards of non-profit organizations, principally in the field of the environment and climate change. 

Christine Whitman

Former Governor of New Jersey and Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

Christine Todd Whitman was elected the 50th Governor of the State of New Jersey, and its first woman governor, in 1993. She resigned in 2001 to become Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in President George W. Bush’s administration.

Whitman is the President of the Whitman Strategy Group, a consulting firm that specializes in energy and environmental issues. She is the author of a New York Times bestseller, It’s My Party Too.

Governor Whitman serves on a number of non-profit organizations including the Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee of the Eisenhower Fellowships and the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Todd Stern

Former Special Envoy for Climate Change

Todd Stern served  as the special envoy for climate change at the Department of State from 2009 until 2016. He was President Obama’s chief climate negotiator, leading the U.S. effort in negotiating the Paris Agreement and in all bilateral and multilateral climate negotiations in the seven years leading up to Paris.

Stern served under President Clinton in the White House from 1993 to 1999. From 1997 to 1999, he coordinated the administration’s initiative on global climate change. From 1999 to 2001, Stern served as counselor to Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers.

Stern is a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution concentrating on climate change.