Interviewer: MATTHEW BERKMAN. In 2021, Wharton professor ERIC ORTS took a leave of absence to run as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. He was driven in part by his desire to reform the Senate itself, as he discussed in episode 2.3 of our podcast. The more urgent motivation, however, was his assessment of climate change as a global emergency requiring national mobilization on a massive scale, a view he developed as Director of the Wharton Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership. In his discussion with political scientist Matthew Berkman, Orts outlines not only the technical steps for ramping down carbon emissions, but the policies and political strategies that could help bring about necessary change. While he ended his Senate campaign in early October, after this interview was recorded, his insights into the politics of the climate emergency remain relevant to a problem that we will be grappling with for years to come. The Orts campaign’s “Green Paper on the Climate Emergency and Jobs” is available here.
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