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In Memoriam: David Klipstein

Dave’s expertise and financial support enabled Earthjustice to grow its fledgling international program into a major force for transitioning the world away from fossil fuels to clean energy.

David Klipstein

David Klipstein

Earthjustice file photo

We recently lost a member of the Earthjustice family. Dr. David H. Klipstein, a scientist and environmental champion, passed away on July 1. Dave’s expertise and financial support enabled Earthjustice to grow its fledgling international program into a major force for transitioning the world away from fossil fuels to clean energy.

Those who knew Dave recall his kind and generous spirit, his quick mind and strong problem-solving abilities, and his deep love of the environment and Earthjustice. He served on our Board of Trustees from 1999 to 2014 and was named an Honorary Lifetime Trustee after he retired from the board.

A chemical engineer by training, Dave’s work drove him to fight for cleaner skies. While leading research into reducing air emissions, he testified before Congress in support of the Clean Air Act of 1970, which ultimately passed. He went on to cofound both Biosym Technologies and Reaction Design.

As part of Dave’s mission to reduce air pollution, he created the Klipstein Fellowship for attorneys engaged in international work at Earthjustice. This gift was integral to the development of Earthjustice’s international program.

Today, our international program works around the world, partnering with public interest lawyers to force transparency around the health and economic costs of fossil fuel dependence and compel a just transition to clean energy.

The first Klipstein fellow, Martin Wagner, now heads the international program as its Managing Attorney.

“Dave planted the seed that grew into a vibrant and thriving international program that is partnering all around the world to defend human health and the environment from the threat of fossil fuels,” Wagner says.

“In a very real way, Earthjustice’s ability to support these lawyers to do their crucial work is due to David. He was also a great support to me personally, from the time I started as the first Klipstein Fellow into the time when we had grown to a team of international lawyers… He was so creative — he always had a unique perspective on a challenge or an opportunity that made me see things differently. And he cared so much about the work we were doing and about us all as people.

“I will miss him, and we all in the International Program will continue to build his legacy,” Wagner says.

As Earthjustice continues to expand its international program and fight for clean energy around the world, we honor Dave’s legacy.

We're the lawyers for the environment, and the law is on our side.