Climate Resolve Staff Interview: Ignacio Fernandez

Posted by on August 25, 2016

ig staff interview picGet to know Ignacio Fernandez, Climate Resolve’s Analyst, Water and Energy Programs.

Describe your work in one sentence.
At Climate Resolve, I provide support on technical and public policy issues associated to both energy and climate change.

What inspired you on your career path?
I grew up in Chile in the ’70s and ’80s, in the middle of a dictatorship where, among other things, you were not allowed to question why your city was one of the most polluted on the planet. When I first moved to California, I discovered a completely different attitude towards the environment and how people treated its protection just like another human right. What I learned here moved me to work on environmental issues at the international level, showing California regulations as an example for other countries. Now I am driven by the need for a more long-term, substantive and quantitative approach to environmental issues associated with energy generation and consumption.

What are the key external factors that drive your work?
The strong dependency of the world economy on fossil fuels and the little awareness of society is, in my opinion, the strongest impediment to achieve any significant mitigation on the effects of climate change. Internalizing the real costs that fossil fuels have on the economy will be the turning point for this much-needed change.

What have you added to your field/workplace? Brag a little: what’s your value-add?
I have a strong background on the analysis of programs of energy efficiency and climate policy in more than 30 countries, which I can apply to the work that Climate Resolve does.

What are the barriers you face in work — and what could make your job easier?
The primary barrier I face is that I am relatively new to Southern California. I’m from Chile and have lived in California on and off since 1990, but I am still learning the political ins and outs. Getting acquainted with the decision-makers in the region would facilitate my job as I would get to know how to approach them and what type of solutions or alternatives I could offer in return.

A genie grants you two wishes to help fight climate change. What do you ask for? (And what would you do with the third wish?)
The first, and most important thing, would be that the main polluters of the world agree on a comprehensive, realistic, fast-implementing solution that aims at achieving the goals of reducing GHG emissions according to what the science says — ideally involving getting rid of the need for fossil fuels. The second wish is that the restructuring of the economy, needed to achieve the previous goal, also benefits the parts of the world population that has been historically affected by pollution in a proportion that compensates for the unfair burden they had carried for decades. The third wish is that in 20 or 30 years my grandkids look at their textbooks in school and say, “I can’t believe it took them so long to agree to solve climate change, which ended up being so easy!”

Name two things you like most about LA, and what would you change?
I like the spring and fall seasons and the variety of art and cultural expressions from all over the World.
Coming from the South Pole, I wish summers were a bit cooler!