Working for a Sustainable Tomorrow


By Ben Ginsburg '17

Emilio Camacho ’08, JD ’11 wouldn’t have gotten where he is today without the internship and career experience he earned as a UC Davis student.

As a law intern, Camacho received an assignment on energy use that helped him find his passion: the helped him to find his passion: the intersection of land use, energy use, environmental impacts and policy. He later made a career out of this niche. Now, Camacho is the chief of staff to Commissioner David Hochschild at the California Energy Commission.

“UC Davis helped me achieve my dreams,” he said. “The university provided me with a reliable educational foundation, helped me discover my passion through a summer internship, and continues to support my passion for research and innovation in topics such as energy efficiency, transportation and renewables. As an alumnus, it’s been rewarding to see how the university continues to prepare students and works with government and industry to solve important problems.”

The Energy Commission is the main energy policy and planning agency for the state of California, and much of its work is centered on making energy generation and use more efficient and environmentally sustainable in California and around the world. According to Camacho, partnerships with public universities like UC Davis are part of what has made California a successful leader in energy efficiency.

One of the efforts the Commission helps to support is Governor Brown’s Under2 memorandum of understanding (MOU). This is an effort by subnational governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the local level. With more than 170 governments participating, this group represents the world’s third largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind the U.S. and China. Camacho often relies on studies and data by the UC system to continue to advocate for dealing with climate change and for solutions at the local level.

Camacho also stays connected to UC Davis in other ways. For example, he serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council in the College of Letters and Science, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy. He also started a program for UC Davis law students interested in energy policy to work in Sacramento for the Energy Commission, which he views as the “pay it forward” gesture for the next generation of policy wonks.

“I wanted to create the opportunity for UC Davis students that I would have wanted,” he said. “I find UC Davis students to be capable, smart and positive, and it’s very easy for me to hire someone during the summer and keep them through the year part-time because of how close they are to the capitol.” 

Note: This story originally appeared in the fall 2017 issue of AggieXtra.