Bruce Nilles
United States
2018 Awardee

Bruce is the founder of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, which stopped the rush for new coal plants in America, and secured retirement of over half the country’s coal fleet. Early in his tenure as a Climate Breakthrough awardee, he explore novel climate mitigation strategies, including addressing emissions from natural gas in U.S. buildings and homes. Bruce then launched the electrification program at the Rocky Mountain Institute, with the objective of eliminating fossil fuels from buildings. There he provided key support to the first city in the US to ban gas in new buildings.

Bruce was selected for a Climate Breakthrough Project award because he is an outstanding, innovative strategist with a laser-focus on climate change mitigation. As one of the global pioneers in the movement away from coal, Bruce’s vision of challenging each of the 150 new proposed coal fired power plants in America in the early 2000’s was initially seen as laughably ambitious. And yet, just over a decade later, not only were 90% of those proposed coal plants halted, but now 270 coal plants of the country’s 530 are slated to retire. Climate Breakthrough Project was built to help leaders like Bruce who, in the face of long odds, have turned big visions into real world impact.

Bruce is now the Executive Director of Climate Imperative, a project of Energy Innovation.