Meet Sam Savitz! He’s an analyst on EFI’s Projects Team who loves feminism, soccer, fun facts, and tweeting about DC statehood.
In non-pandemic times, one of Sam’s favorite things about living in D.C. is exploring the District’s many museums (especially the SAAM).
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be an inventor, not really knowing that that wasn’t a job that people have. I enjoyed drawing concepts for new “inventions” without caring about the technical aspect of it, just the idea part. I guess that is appropriate for EFI, given our innovation focus. Later on, when I was 10, I wanted to be a diplomat, which carried on all the way to college where I studied global affairs.
What was your most rewarding experience prior to working at EFI?
For a summer, I worked at the Atomic Heritage Foundation, which was my first exposure to energy issues. The organization focused on historic preservation around the Manhattan Project and was an awesome place to work. The organization was largely devoted to getting a National Historic Park around the Manhattan Project, which there now is. One cool experience in the aftermath was going to an exhibit about the Manhattan Project at the National Building Museum and seeing work from our Oral History collection in the museum. It reinforced for me how important historical preservation is for society.
What’s the best thing about working at EFI?
I love getting to have interesting conversations with really smart and passionate people every day. It’s something that we miss out on a little bit in the virtual workplace since there are not as many opportunities to casually talk to people. Even if it’s not about work, people are passionate about all kinds of topics and that’s something about EFI that I enjoy the most.
What are you the proudest of since working at EFI?
Working on the California report was the first big report that I was really involved in at EFI. Getting to write substantial portions of the Transportation chapter was something I found exciting. Plus, the reaction to the report was really good and it shaped a lot of our work going forward. The other thing I want to mention is that carbon removal is something that’s really jumped up in prominence and I think that EFI has been a really big part of creating the conversation around it. The CREATE Act took our structure from the Clearing the Air report and parts of that bill made it into law. Seeing the direct line between what we do and what legislation is really rewarding.
What gives you hope for the future?
In terms of climate, the pace at which things have changed recently in terms of the “calculus” of decarbonization gives me hope. The fact, for example, that we shifted from an 80 by 50 target with the Paris Agreement to focused on 1.5 degrees and net zero so quickly over a matter of years. And now, there’s a lot of consensus around that in the world of climate action. Also, technology and how wind/solar and battery prices have come down substantially in ways I don’t think anyone predicted in the last ten years, a lot of which came from government-funded innovation. People are talking about how we can achieve these huge, sweeping technological changes and how hard it is going to be. But we don’t know what the next technological breakthrough is going to be, and we keep moving forward.
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