Carl Pope became Chairman of the Sierra Club in 2010, after serving for more than seventeen years as Executive Director. A veteran leader in the environmental movement, Mr. Pope has been with the Sierra Club for more than thirty years. In that time he has also served as Associate Conservation Director, Political Director, and Conservation Director.
Under Mr. Pope, the Sierra Club helped protect nearly 10 million acres of wilderness, including such highlights as the California Desert, Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and California’s Giant Sequoia National Monument. The Club brought the litigation challenging the right of Vice-President Cheney’s Energy Task Force to conduct its policy making in secret negotiations with major energy interests. The Sierra Club also collected more than a million comments — the most public comments on a single regulatory issue in history — in support of protecting the remaining roadless areas in America’s National Forests.
More recently in Mr. Pope’s tenure, the Sierra Club led the charge in helping to block more than 125 proposed new coal fired power plants, achieving a 40% improvement in the pollution and fuel efficiency of America’s passenger vehicles, and launching the Club’s Climate Recovery Partnership. The Club also brought the initial lawsuit that led the Supreme Court to run in 2006 that greenhouse gasses, including carbon dioxide, were subject to regualtion under the Clean Air Act. The Sierra Club also continued to hold the line in protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling, and in stopping repeatedly proposed omnibus energy legislation that would give tens of billions in subsidies to oil, coal and nuclear interests.
In addition to his work with the Sierra Club, Mr. Pope has had a distinguished record of progressive activism and leadership. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of America Votes and is a member of the Board of American Rights at Work and the Blue-Green Alliance. He previously has served on the Boards of the California League of Conservation Voters, Public Voice, National Clean Air Coalition, California Common Cause, Public Interest Economics, Inc., and Zero Population Growth. Mr. Pope was also Executive Director of the California League of Conservation Voters and the Political Director of Zero Population Growth.
Mr. Pope is co-author — along with Paul Rauber — of Strategic Ignorance: Why the Bush Administration Is Recklessly Destroying a Century of Environmental Progress, which the New York Review of Books called “a splendidly fierce book.” Mr. Pope’s other books include Sahib, an American Misadventure in India (1971) and Hazardous Waste in America (1981).
Mr. Pope graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1967. He then spent two years as a volunteer with the Peace Corps in Barhi, Bihar, India, where he helped communities and families address the human and environmental impacts of overpopulation.