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. Bruce is using the first six months of his three-year tenure as a Climate Breakthrough awardee to explore new and novel climate mitigation strategies — including how to eliminate natural gas in U.S. buildings and homes.

Bruce has been 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. Our goal is to provide the resources necessary to allow Bruce to step back and explore new visions and choose his next big goal.

Bruce has taken a post at Rocky Mountain Institute, where he will house and launch his new work. Over the first six months of his tenure as a Climate Breakthrough awardee, he plans to explore several new approaches for attacking greenhouse gas emissions including phasing out the use of natural gas and its associated dangerous methane leakage from America’s buildings, sharing lessons from the Beyond Coal campaign internationally, and mapping out the endgame for coal in the U.S.

We look forward to seeing how Bruce’s ideas and vision evolve in the months ahead.