Bloomberg — A fundamental part of the failed platform for the businessman and philanthropist’s presidential bid Tom Steyer for the 2020 elections in the United States was to invest heavily in clean energy and act against climate change. After two years, the billionaire businessman is very happy that President Joe Biden Yes Democratic MPs passed unprecedented legislation.
“For a long time I worried about this, whether this was going to happen. I’m very liberated and very grateful to the people who made it happen,” Steyer said. “The other option was a really awful alternative”. He is co-president of Galvanize Climate Solutions, a mission-driven investment firm that provides capital and insight to accelerate climate solutions and helps fund NextGen Americathe political advocacy group he founded in 2013 to encourage youth participation in elections.
In a long interview with BloombergGreen, Steyer discussed the new law, how it could impact the midterm elections, retiring from NextGen America and waiting to buy a new electric vehicle. The interview has been edited and shortened.
This Inflation Reduction Act is by far the most important climate legislation to date, though many progressives are disappointed that it also includes incentives for fossil fuels. Are you happy or disappointed?
I think the word would be excited. Listen, I think it took a long time to come. I was very afraid that we wouldn’t have a bill. So I’m very happy to have a “climate” law because obviously it’s not just about the weather.
After the bill passed the Senate, some analysts said it restored US climate credibility. But does the fact that only Democrats backed the bill, not a single Republican vote for it, weaken its international legitimacy?
I don’t think there’s anyone in the world who pays attention who hasn’t realized the country divided we have. Would you like it to be something that was nonpartisan or bipartisan? Sure. I think every measure of partisanship in the United States right now is super extreme and this is no different.
i think this [ley] it allows the private sector to move forward in a way that will be very difficult to undo. How to defeat the cheap cost of solar or wind power? How do you put EVs back in the bottle, so to speak?
The amount of money spent on clean technologies has already increased. So why is this legislation necessary to stimulate private investment if Silicon Valley and institutional investors are on board?
It’s really a question of rhythm. If you think about technology, there are two things this bill will do. Will be help people design new technologies and will ensure that technologies are adopted more quickly. Solar and wind energy per kilowatt hour are already the cheapest. But what we’re really looking at is building and embracing solar and wind power at a completely different pace than they were going on their own. If you look at the electric vehicle market, it’s really about what we’re going to do to dramatically increase the number of electric vehicles on the road.
I tried to buy an EV and it’s almost impossible. We created the demand. We are trying to build the charging stations. The problem is that there are no cars to buy.
What EV are you trying to get and what timeline are you on?
I’m at waiting list for Mustang extended range. I drive, for about seven years, a Chevy Volt. I’m not a snob about this. I need a new car because this car, some of the systems are failing.
So I want to buy a new car. I wish it was an American car. I wish it was a device that had good enough range so I could connect at home at night or in the office without worrying about it. I really care about extended scope.
And I know you’re not going to believe it, but I wish it was a fun car.
Going back to the Inflation Reduction Act, do you think it will have an impact on the midterm elections in the United States? How should Democrats communicate climate implications on the campaign trail?
I started NextGen. Obviously, I believe in the importance and significance of youth for a fair representative democracy in the United States. This is what I think wins for the Democrats.
For them I think there is a very different message because they are much more targeted in the weather.
For older voters, I’m very happy to go and make the business case, why we’re winning in the markets, why for American prosperity, job growth and leadership, from an economic perspective , we must succeed.
There are several posts here for different audiences.
Young people tend to vote more in presidential elections than in midterm elections. How confident are you that the bill, with its various compromises, will get you to the vote in November?
Our job at NextGen is to try to convince them that their vote really matters, and it’s. The person running NextGen is a woman named Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez.
Our the goal has always been to be in oscillating states (any state that could reasonably be won by the Democratic or Republican nominee in an election). We are in Wisconsin, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Arizona and Nevada. Cristina is from Texas and here we are in Texas. This convinced us that this is a state with a large number of young people who do not vote.
I have an agreement that I will fund at least half of everything they do. I feel like making people think it was just me was a big deal for NextGen.
I don’t want to be the spokesperson for young people, it makes no sense. But if I want to allow an organization to empower these young people for whom I have great respect.
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