James Gustave Gus Speth

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James Gustave "Gus" Speth Esq. is currently Dean at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.Natural Resources Defense Council. He is believed to be a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Speth's name is linked to the UN's Global Compact/Global Compact Corporate Partners, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Sloan & Kettering Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Speth served as Administrator of the United Nations Sustainable Development Program (UNDP) from 1993 to 2000. He was the highest-ranking American in the UN system: "in effect the No. 2 job at the U.N. next to the secretary general."[1][2]

Previously, Speth founded and was the first president of the World Resources Institute (WRI) in 1982 and served as its president until January 1993. Based in Washington, D.C., WRI, is a center for policy research and technical assistance on environment and development issues. At the time, Speth also served as a senior advisor to President-elect William Jefferson Clinton's transition team, "heading the group that examined the USA role in natural resources, energy and the environment."[3]

Before founding WRI, Speth served as a Member and then as Chairman (two years) of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) in the Executive Office of the President (1977-1981). As President James Earl Carter, Jr.'s CEQ Chairman, Speth was the "principal advisor on matters affecting the environmental programme." Under Speth's leadership, "CEQ and the Department of State produced the Global 2000 Report, which expanded national environmental policy to embrace global concerns." That experience led to the founding of WRI.[4]

In 1981 and 1982, he was Professor of environmental and constitutional Law at Georgetown University. From 1970 to 1977, he was a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council[5], an environmental organization he co-founded and where he continues as a member of the Board of Trustees.[6]

"Prior to joining UNDP, Mr. Speth organized numerous leadership initiatives on environment and development. In 1991 he chaired a USA task force on international development and environmental security which produced the report Partnership for Sustainable Development: A New U.S. Agenda. In 1990 he led the Western Hemisphere Dialogue on Environment and Development which produced the seminal report Compact for a New World. Among his writings are A Post-Rio Compact, which appeared in the fall 1992 issue of Foreign Policy."[7]

Speth graduated summa cum laude from Yale University in 1964, a classmate to current U.S. Attorney General John David Ashcroft. He then attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, a classmate to W. Bowman Cutter. He graduated from Yale Law School in 1969, where he was a member of the Yale Law Journal. In 1995 he received an honorary Doctor of laws degree from Clark University. He served in 1969 and 1970 as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black."[8]


Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. 1Sky Board, organizational web page, accessed April 5, 2012.
  2. Center for a New American Dream Board, organizational web page, accessed April 25, 2012.
  3. Board, New Economics Institute, accessed December 12, 2011.
  4. Climate Reality Project Board, organizational web page, accessed December 6, 2014.
  5. Capital Institute Advisory Board, organizational web page, accessed January 11, 2013.
  6. Northwest Earth Institute Board, organizational web page, accessed February 21, 2013.
  7. American Sustainable Business Council Advisory Board, organizational web page, accessed December 27, 2013.
  8. Advisory Committee, Environmental Leadership Program, accessed November 8, 2007.
  9. Advisory Board, SmartPower, accessed June 16, 2010.
  10. Advisory Board, Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, accessed February 9, 2009.
  11. Science and Policy Advisory Council, Global Footprint Network, accessed April 24, 2008.
  12. Solutions Journal Editorial Board, organizational web page, accessed June 18, 2013.
  13. Earth Day Network Global Advisory Committee, organizational web page, accessed December 21, 2013.
  14. 350.org Board, organizational web page, accessed December 30, 2013.
  15. Tellus Institute Staff, organizational web page, accessed May 1, 2014.
  16. The Climate Mobilization Advisory Board, organizational web page, accessed November 26, 2018.

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