The Golden State is in a dark place. Power outages in the midst of a historic heat wave were followed by devastating wildfires. And all of this comes on top of persistently high COVID-19 case numbers and a once-roaring state economy now faced with a $54 billion budget shortfall. 

But despite these challenges, there’s reason to believe that California can build back in an economically and environmentally sustainable way, says Tom Steyer, former Democratic presidential candidate, billionaire climate activist and co-chair of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s economic recovery task force. 

We speak to Steyer on this episode of Political Climate, the second episode in our "Relief, Rescue, Rebuild" series. We take a look at California and how the most populous state in the nation with ambitious climate goals is crafting its economic recovery plan in the midst of the pandemic, extreme heat and brutal wildfires.

The "Relief, Rescue, Rebuild" series explores what a green recovery from the COVID-19 economic downturn would look like. What kinds of actions will produce the best results in terms of economic growth, improved health, lower emissions and greater resilience?

Recommended reading: 

  • Politico: Steyer Emerges as Newsom Economic Point Person — and Business Groups Are Concerned
  • CalMatters: California’s Clean-Air Programs Take a Hit in New Funding Squeeze
  • E&E News: Biden Launches 'Climate Engagement' Council to Target Voters 
  • Third Way: How Clean Energy Businesses Can Survive and Thrive After COVID-19

The “Relief, Rescue, Rebuild” series is supported by the public policy think tank Third Way. Episodes air monthly on the Political Climate podcast feed. Listen and subscribe on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle Play or wherever you get podcasts.