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Remembering John Topping

John Topping

Here at ClimateYou, we are saddened by the passing of John Topping, a trail blazer and leader in the world of climate change. Topping was President of the Climate Institute based in Washington, DC since its founding in 1986 and served as President until his death in March, 2021. The Climate Institute was the first international organization to address climate change and with Topping at the helm, he was quick to foresee the numerous negative impacts global warming would have on human health and the environment. He sought to promote new sources of energy to lessen greenhouse gases.

In 2017, Topping promoted the launch of the Climate Institute’s North American Supergrid initiative which proposed a 52-node, high voltage direct current (HVDC), largely underground transmission network that would extend across the lower 48 states. The super grid would utilize clean renewable energy across the country, ie: wind energy from the Great Plains and Midwest, solar energy in the Southwest, geothermal energy in the Rocky Mountains and Great Basin, and hydropower in the Northwest and Southeast — renewables that would compete with fossil fuel generated energy in an open, national electricity market and one that would have ample backup power during outages.

Topping received a Certificate from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for his contribution to the Nobel Peace Prize of 2007 to IPCC. He was the former Staff Director of the Office of Air and Radiation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Reagan administration. He holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College and a J.D. from Yale University. In 2002 he received Dartmouth’s first Dr. Martin Luther King,Jr. Social Justice Award for Lifetime Achievement. Topping is the editor of two volumes on climate change: Preparing for Climate Change (1988) and Coping with Climate Change (1989) and co-editor of Sudden and Disruptive Climate Change: Exploring the Real Risks and How We Can Avoid Them (2008).

John Topping and ClimateYou communicated frequently in the last few years, exchanging ideas to forward both our agendas to diminish the impact of climate change by using sustainable energy and save the world.  

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