Leighton Steward (1934 – 2022)
Leighton Steward: A Champion of CO2’s Benefits and Much Else
by Dr. William Happer, Chairman, CO2 Coalition
Leighton Steward, who died December 16 at the age of 88, is remembered for many qualities, among them a tenacity for delivering the message of carbon dioxide’s benefits.
A director emeritus of the CO2 Coalition, Leighton had a profound – and correct – understanding of CO2. Many times he would say, “If only plants could talk, they would beg for more carbon dioxide.”
Leighton spread the good news about CO2 on radio talk shows, in op-eds and in private conversations. He buttonholed U.S. senators, particularly those from his home states of Texas and Wyoming, to educate them about the greening of Earth from the modern increase of CO2. His stature was such that he could, and did, carry the same message to captains of industry.
Leighton was a respected businessman, geologist and author with a wide range of interests and knowledge. He served as chairman and CEO of the Louisiana Land and Exploration Co., becoming vice chairman when that company merged with Burlington Resources, and as chief of exploration operations, worldwide, Shell Oil Co.
He served as chairman of the US Oil & Gas Association and on the boards of directors of numerous other organizations, including EOG Resources, Inc.; M.D. Anderson Cancer Board of Visitors; Tulane University; Institute for the Study of Earth and Man; and Buffalo Bill Center of the West. He represented the independent sector of the energy industry on Presidential Missions to the USSR, Turkey and Pakistan.
Leighton had interests in nutrition and environmental matters, including the area of coastal and wetland protection. He wrote books on climate change and on the Mississippi River Delta and coauthored the best-seller “Sugar Busters! Cut Sugar to Trim Fat.”
We have lost a powerful and effective friend in Leighton’s passing. It was our privilege to know him. His obituary is linked here.