Sep 19 • 1HR 18M

Climate policy with Camila Thorndike

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A growing body of knowledge about climate change and potential solutions. This series traverses disciplines, industries, and opinions with hundreds of deep-dive conversations with science, technology, and climate leaders.
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Today’s guest is Camila Thorndike. 

Most recently, Camila managed Senator Bernie Sanders' portfolio on climate, energy, environment, territories, and tribes. The focus of her tenure was the Build Back Better Act passed in 2021 out of the Senate budget committee and House of Representatives. The majority of the bill's climate policies were retained in the subsequent Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed by the Senate in 2022. Camila is also co-founder of Our Climate, a youth advocacy nonprofit. 

Camila and Jason cover the IRA, what she’s celebrating, where it missed the mark, and where we should go from here. They also talk about climate justice, energy poverty, the policy and regulatory landscape, and tons more. The conversation is a great follow-up to a previous episode with Benji Backer, who is very active in the conservative climate circle. 

💥 Camila will be participating in an AMA in the MCJ Slack community and answering questions asynchronously for 24 hours starting Wednesday 21st September at 8am PST / 11am EST / 4pm BST. Set your reminders, and get your questions ready! If you’re not a member, consider joining or drop your questions for Camila in the comments.

In today’s episode, we cover: 

  • [8:18] Camila's background and how she got started in climate activism and policy

  • [11:23] Her work with Senator Bernie Sanders 

  • [16:04] How Camila thinks about the problem of climate change and how it evolved over time

  • [22:17] Her views on the urgency of the problem 

  • [28:19] Greed and the fossil fuel industry 

  • [39:47] Financing access to clean energy and energy efficiency in developing countries 

  • [41:46] Ensuring a just transition away from fossil fuels

  • [47:10] Potential phases of a rapid transition 

  • [49:58] Camila's thoughts on the Inflation Reduction Act

  • [53:45] The lack of Republican support and level of polarization today 

  • [56:37] Her views on the two-party system 

  • [1:00:06] The role of individuals and actions we can take 

  • [1:04:27] Speed round including nuclear energy, billionaires, carbon offsets, carbon removal, and more

Correction: Original green new deal plan was $16 trillion, not $10 trillion.

Visit our website for the full transcript of this episode.

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*You can also reach us via email at info@mcjcollective.com, where we encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.

Episode recorded on August 15, 2022.