Bill McKibben Founder of 350.org
McKibben, a literal and figurative outsider to Beltway politics, has made his presence felt in the climate change debate.
The Vermonter been at the vanguard of the environmental campaign against the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, taking a no-holds-barred approach that others have emulated.
In the process, McKibben and other activists have created a political dilemma for the White House by casting a single permit decision as decisive for President Obama’s climate legacy.
But while McKibben has helped vault the pipeline into political prominence, going forward it remains to be seen how the green movement can keep the pressure on the administration.
It’s also an open question whether McKibben will remain as much of a force when the Keystone fight is over.
350.org is leading efforts to get colleges and cities to divest from oil-and-coal companies. Whether that campaign catches fire could depend on McKibben and his ability to exert influence beyond the pipeline battle.