Episode 11: Putting A Price On Carbon - Nathan Graf, Swarthmore College - Transcript

Back to Episode 11

Dave Karlsgodt 0:00

Welcome to the Campus Energy and Sustainability Podcast. In each episode, we'll talk with leading campus professionals, thought leaders, engineers, and innovators addressing the unique challenges and opportunities facing higher ed and corporate campuses. Our discussions will range from energy conservation and efficiency to planning and finance, from building science to social science, from energy systems to food systems. We hope you're ready to learn, share, and ultimately accelerate your institution towards solutions. I'm your host, Dave Karlsgodt. I'm a Principal at Fovea, an energy, carbon, and business planning firm. My guest in this episode is Nathan Graf from Swarthmore College, a small liberal arts college located just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Nathan and I discussed Swarthmore's Carbon Charge Program. Nathan explains the origins of their policy, the nuts and bolts of how the carbon charge is calculated, and how the funds for the program are used. We go on to discuss how putting a price on carbon has impacted students, faculty and staff, as well as the reputation of Swarthmore as a leader in sustainability. We explore Swarthmore's use of a shadow price on carbon when evaluating larger capital projects and the challenges of calculating a specific cost for the impacts of carbon emissions on society at large. Nathan explains how Swarthmore's program compares to alternative approaches used by other institutions that are also working to put a price on carbon emissions. I hope you enjoyed this May 16 interview with Nathan Graf. Well, Nathan, it's great to have you on the podcast today. And it's nice to visit you here on this rainy day in Swarthmore campus.

Nathan Graf 1:31

Yeah, it's great to be here.

Dave Karlsgodt 1:33

So I thought we'd start if you could just maybe give us a brief introduction to yourself and to the campus and, more importantly, how you came to put a price on carbon here at Swarthmore.

Nathan Graf 1:44

Yeah, of course. So we're at Swarthmore College. Swarthmore is a small liberal arts college outside of Philadelphia; we have about 1500 students here. And I am an alum from the class of 2016 and staff in the Office of Sustainability and my position is the Climate Action Senior Fellow. So our carbon price actually came out of a reading group back in the summer of 2015. A group of economics faculty, they had semi-regular summer reading groups just to learn about interesting topics in economics, and that particular summer, they chose to focus their their studies on carbon pricing. And onto that reading group, a couple other environmental studies faculty, and an alum and a staff member also joined. And they spent the summer learning about carbon pricing. And they learned about climate change. And, as obviously the audience knows, climate change threatens human safety and wellbeing to an unacceptable level and we have to keep within two degrees of warming. And to align with that two degree scenario, we need to keep upwards of 80% of fossil fuel reserves in the ground. And do that we need a dramatic transformation of our heat, electricity, industrial food transportation systems. And all of those systems, of course, are governed by businesses or governments that whether for legal reasons or the fiduciary responsibility, have to make decisions based on the bottom line. And that makes making these dramatic transformations really, really hard when their top priority is finances, and has to be. And a carbon price, a price on carbon has a tremendous potential to change that playing field, to make all of those fights winnable, to make renewable and sustainable options competitive, and to make it unprofitable to extract upwards of 80% of fossil fuels. So the reading group learned about this and they they kind of towards the end of the summer, then they started asking the question, Well, great, so we have a sense of what the solution is, we have some really great ideas about what the world should do so, but it doesn't feel satisfying to just sit on that in our ivory tower and say, Well, great, we know what the solution is and we're just going to sit on that knowledge and be smug about it and know what everyone else should be doing with their time and efforts. So then the next question was, what would it mean to actually act on this? To bring this solution to Swarthmore? And to do that, they put together a first draft of an internal carbon pricing program for the college. And they went through this process through that fall semester of bringing it to different stakeholders on campus, to the presidents, to the faculty, to the staff, to the to the Board of Managers, the Senior Sustainability Committee, facilities, finance and so forth. And they asked everyone in that group, like, what was your feedback? What? What works about this for you? What makes sense? What doesn't? What changes would you makee? And they went through at least five different iterations of drafts and incorporating that feedback before it was finally approved by the Board of Managers in February of 2016 to go into effect in the 2017 financial year.

Dave Karlsgodt 4:38

These were faculty who know how to get stuff done on higher ed, I guess, right? Talk to everybody first. That's great. So, so where do they go from there?

Nathan Graf 4:46

Yeah, so that was that it was approved in February of 2016. I graduated and joined the office in June of 2016. And that September, the carbon charge committee was formed. So this committee has governance over the implementation of the carbon charge program and all its aspects, and it has representation from faculty from the Office of Sustainability, from students, facilities, finance, information technology, and other campus stakeholders to to continue to govern, build, and grow the carbon pricing program.

Dave Karlsgodt 5:19

Great. So, so you started with this group of economists, this reading group. They read about it, thought it was an interesting idea, then brought it to the campus, talked to everybody on campus, got it adopted as policy on the campus and then set up this committee? Is that right?

Nathan Graf 5:33


Dave Karlsgodt 5:33

Great. So well, maybe we should back up a second and just tell me more about what what does it even mean to put a price on carbon? Because there's a big difference between a global price on carbon versus a national price of carbon versus a price and carbon here at a liberal arts college in Pennsylvania. So tell me more about what you mean by that.

Nathan Graf 5:52

Yeah, absolutely. Just to start on the bigger picture, so there's two really common ways to understand the price on carbon and the spectrum in between them, and that's a carbon fee, or a cap and trade system. So a carbon fee, I think is the simplest model where you levy a fee on fossil fuels or other sources of carbon at the point where they enter the economy. So that's the point of extraction or the point of import. And that price signal is passed down through the supply chain into the economy. The other one was a cap and trade program where there's a finite set of permits that are permits to emit greenhouse gases that are distributed to emitting sources. And they can trade those permits for money such that the firms are incentivized to rather reduce emissions and the emissions reductions will go to the place where they cost the least. So what does it mean to bring that policy to campus? Today, there's actually a lot of different models for how that can look. So I think it's actually helpful to start with Yale's program. Yale beat up Swarthmore by year. They had their carbon price system first. And they actually have four different carbon pricing systems. They their their goal is to model what systems are most effective, but they're the one that they have this year, I think, is helpful to describe where they actually measure the emissions that each department in office is responsible for. And they have a revenue system, or a revenue neutral carbon pricing system, such that departments gain or make a little bit of revenue if they can reduce emissions faster than Yale as a whole and they lose a little bit of money if they reduce emissions slower than Yale as a whole or increase in their emissions. Swarthmore doesn't quite have the metering capacity to make a precise measure of what our English department is emitting, especially since so many departments share buildings here on a very small campus. So in our system, we can think of all of Swarthmore like one of Yale's departments. So for Swarthmore's entire emissions, and that's charged as a percentage of our operating budget, and every department and office on campus pays their share (in the first year, there's 1 and a quarter percent) of their individual operating budgets for the year. We also, in addition to that chart, that levy that raises revenue, we have a shadow price. That is just a tool in decision making and that's focusing on campus wide decisions, especially capital planning, construction, renovations, and so forth. And that's just a tool in decision making, such that when we're looking at different options, we in the pricing of different options, we also look at the life cycle emissions associated with both of them, or at least a good estimate of those emissions. And and we charge $100 a ton as we're doing that cost benefit analysis.

Dave Karlsgodt 8:36

Got it. So, so your internal price on departments is relatively straightforward. It's just one and a quarter percent. There's no...nobody's measuring it directly, it's just that's you've kind of chosen that as the the amount based on your total emissions and then just divvying it up by your budget.

Nathan Graf 8:52

Precisely. At least for the time being.

Dave Karlsgodt 8:54

Right. Okay, so the one and a quarter percent is really, it's a function of what would our carbon cost us anyway and then just divvying that up relative to your overall budget rather than it--Okay. But then in the shadow price, you're, if you're going to build a new building, and you're looking at should we build it this way, or that way, or that way? When you put that in front of the Board of Trustees or the Board of whatever I can't remember what you call them here. Board of Managers here, then they would see that carbon price as part of the finances so that they can use that as a tool to help make the decision. Is that right? Okay. All right, that makes sense. Alright, so well now that you've, you've set this up, so you've been run this since 2015, it sounds like? What, what would you have done differently to set it up now that you've been through it? Or what would put it maybe a better question is what advice would you give to other campuses who are just starting out?

Nathan Graf 9:42

Yeah, what advice. So I think that the the biggest driver and how you set up a carbon charge program is to understand the motivations and the specific institutional context. So there's a lot of different lot of different goals that can be met better or worse by different carbon pricing models. If a goal on your campus is to find revenue to support projects, then, something like Swarthmore's model where all of our revenue, its revenue positive. So we're not returning those funds out to departments and offices and that supports mostly energy efficiency and other sustainability work on campus. So a revenue positive program may make sense for you there. If you're most interested in exploring carbon pricing academically and learning about like what models work best and the psychology of how you make decisions within a carbon price, then you might consider something like Yale where they actually had these four different programs and are trying different different ways to measure empirically, what are the emissions impacts of each of these?

Dave Karlsgodt 10:36

Alright sounds like you need metering to do that too, right?

Nathan Graf 10:38

Yes, yes, that's true, that's true. And if your emphasis is on getting to zero emissions, then you might want to consider shadow price with the focus on the decision points and construction, capital planning, rather than an emphasis on the decisions that departments and offices are going to make, which is relatively smaller compared to are we putting this new building on ground source heat pumps or on a natural gas boiler. And then another motivation is education, engagement, and building momentum for a political solution. And in that case, you want a program that's going to make sure you're going to touch everyone that it's everyone's going to see it and interact with it and that you have educational programming to go along with it. And it's not just something that's going to affect budget managers or the folks in capital planning.

Dave Karlsgodt 11:20

Okay, so it sounds like you're using the money, it's revenue positive, meaning you're essentially expanding the budget of your campus so that you can do things you weren't doing before you had the carbon price versus Yale it sounds like they're just, they're reallocating the existing budget in a different way, but using carbon as a lever to reallocate some of those funds. Something like that? Okay. And it sounds like you're, if I understand it correctly, you're using the money for energy efficiency projects. So what you said and then what else? You're doing education? Or how else are you using those funds?

Nathan Graf 11:53

Yeah, so in the first year and the subsequent years have more or less measured this, we spent about two-thirds of the funds on seeding a green revolving loan fund, and we expect to continue to support and grow that green revolving loan fund to tackle efficiency projects. And other slightly less than a third is allocated towards improving our metering and doing long term sustainability, planning and assessment to make sure that we're spending resources in the best way. And then also a chunk of that money is dedicated to education and engagement and doing that public facing work to make sure all our campus is aware of and excited about carbon pricing.

Dave Karlsgodt 12:32

Got it. Buying pizza for students and...

Nathan Graf 12:35

Mhmm, yeah. Hosting lectures, hosting events, help supporting students to attend regional carbon pricing related events.

Dave Karlsgodt 12:42

Okay, great. Great. And this all brings up something I see again and again and again in sustainability which is the question of, you know, is a program or policy, especially around sustainability, is it focused on making the university a better run machine, like a better business? Or is it really more in support of the true mission, which is, you know, research and education?

Nathan Graf 13:03

Yeah, I think. Yeah, we're absolutely valuing both of those and incorporating both into the program. And the third that we're also looking not just to make make Swarthmore greener, to reduce our own emissions, quite as valuable as that can be, the real strategy to keep 80% of fossil fuels in the ground is going to need to be a political solution. I find it very difficult to envision some world where we say, oops, we've burned 19% of our emissions, we got 1% more, and then everyone in the world is just going to say: Nope, we're done. Even if it's cheap and available and they need it to live. We really need national and global policy solutions. So to that end, we're looking to also build political mention and awareness and understanding of carbon pricing as a regional and national policy. Swarthmore's president, President Valerie Smith, was the second signatory to the Put A Price On It campaign, a letter calling on elected leaders to take action towards carbon pricing. And beyond that, she also worked with four other college university presidents to reach out to a number of their peers and directly resulted in another 30 signatories joining and more have joined since. So we're very excited to do the education and engagement on campus and to bring that.

Dave Karlsgodt 14:19

Yeah, so it's not just education of your students, it's education of the world at large, it sounds like. That's great. It sounds like that would be a bigger, a much bigger level, especially for unlike maybe a big research institution, which could be like the one of the biggest contributors in the region, you know, relative to Philadelphia at large, even Swarthmore's pretty small, but that's a place where you can punch above your weight a little bit. Has that been the motivation of how you set up your program? Or is that is that sort of just come out organically from learning about it and thinking about it?

Nathan Graf 14:51

Yeah, I think a lot of different people who had a say in the who were involved in developing the program kind of came to it with different lenses and different motivations and different particular areas that they were most excited about. So as you can probably hear, I'm most excited about education and political impact from the program. Other members of the Carbon Charge Committee and of the faculty group, were really excited about getting Swarthmore to zero emissions. Facilities spends a lot of time thinking about that. Others are interested in behavior change side of things, how a levy on departments will influence behavior of individuals. So with those and other priorities, I think those all influence the development of the program as a total. And it's not a perfect program. And we knew that and we, that's part of the development going and we didn't want to let perfect be the enemy of the good. We felt that we had a carbon charge system that made sense and was low risk, and we were excited to move forward with that quickly, rather than puttering around and kicking it through committees for five years before we felt like we could develop something that was absolutely perfect.

Dave Karlsgodt 15:52

Yeah, well, it sounds like your, your group of economists moved swiftly through the departments the first time around, they did all the hard work. That's great. Let's walk me through some of the logistics. Just, maybe first start with a campus just so people have a sense of how big the campus is. I'm here, I can look out the window, but just number buildings, students, etc. And then, then let's get into the actual specifics of the program itself.

Nathan Graf 16:15

Yeah, so Swarthmore is a small liberal arts college and we're a proportionately small campus. We have about 60 buildings. We're about one and a half square miles in campus size. We consume something like 15,000 megawatt megawatt hours of electricity annually. And I think something like 72,000 Decker things of natural gas, if I got that right.

Dave Karlsgodt 16:37

What about the central system? Do you have a central plant here? Or how is the campus heated?

Nathan Graf 16:42

Yeah, we have a fun mix of systems. We have a bunch of buildings that are heated on central plant that's on a steam system and we're looking at a hydronic conversion. We have two buildings on the far north and south ends of campus that are heated by ground source heat pumps. We have one building that's on an air source heat pump system and a whole bunch of other buildings that are local natural gas boilers.

Dave Karlsgodt 17:02

They like to experiment, I guess. Great. So walk me through the basic logistics of the program. I think you mentioned before, it's one and a quarter percent of their operating budget. So if I'm the head of an English department, do I just see that on my bill? Do we get a bill? Like, what is our way I can not have that bill if I save carbon? Or what's the, what's the process?

Nathan Graf 17:22

Yeah, so that one and a quarter percent will show up as a line item on your budget. Our system does not, there's not currently a way to reduce that number by saving carbon. We hope that is a development in the program in the future. Interestingly, despite that fact, with the advent of the carbon charge, as it's been showing up, we've gotten a whole lot of questions from a lot of people who are now asking us how can we, how can we reduce our emissions? How can we reduce our department's emissions? Even though there's not immediately a financial incentive for it. We found that that's, just seeing that on their budget has brought a lot of folks to the table who who otherwise wouldn't be the usual suspects.

Dave Karlsgodt 17:56

So they see it, that's great. And then is there a way for them to reduce it?

Nathan Graf 17:59

Not the moment, except insofar as if you reduce your emissions as the chemistry department, and that proportionately brings down the entire, all of Swarthmore's emissions, that some fraction of that comes bouncing back to you. But it is a very, very small fraction.

Dave Karlsgodt 18:14

So it's like a carbon commune in that case, right?

Nathan Graf 18:16

Yes, yes.

Dave Karlsgodt 18:16


Nathan Graf 18:18

The reduction, the benefits of reduction, are shared for the time being.

Dave Karlsgodt 18:23

Got it. Okay. But, but it's also simple. So you can figure it out, it doesn't take, you can do it probably in a spreadsheet in your office in the afternoon to figure out the charge. Nice. Okay. Great. Well, that actually leads into a good question. I remember seeing your boss over at the Second Nature summit this last February and she got into a, we'll call it a public, a heated debate, when one of the other people there was was kind of going off on the idea of setting up carbon charges at small-scope schools was just a waste of time in this person's opinion. And Aurora stood up and said, "No, you know, this really has been, we've done it and it wasn't that hard. And, you know, it's been amazing on how many different people it's touched, just because people are talking about it now that weren't otherwise talking about it." And so maybe you can tell me more about that. Like, how, how has that affected campus? Like what, what are some of the stories that come out of that from, you didn't have a charge now you have a charge? What's different?

Nathan Graf 19:25

Yeah, so I think we've been, as I mentioned a minute ago that we so many people have been really excited and interested in learning to reduce their, their footprint. Related to that, I mean, we were looking to the program anyway, but it was a good nudge for us to start a new program: the sustainability advocates. So we have, a lot of schools have Eco-Reps or peer educators. And we're now in, we just finished our first year of an analogous program where we have Eco-Reps for departments and offices to help them work with students to find pathways to reduce their own emissions. We've also, even though this doesn't actually touch students at all, I mean, we're not we're not charging students, but a lot of students have been really interested and engaged in a Swarthmore chapter of Put A Price On It campaign has started on campus. And they've been doing a lot of work. They've produced a weekly newsletter to help educate and engage the campus. They've been producing articles, they've made a really helpful graphic for explaining the carbon charge, and they've been in conversation with the Delaware County Council. So president Smith signed this this letter calling on elected officials to take action on carbon pricing. That's not gathering dust in a drawer somewhere, our students are using them in conversation with our local elected officials. So I think this has had a really tremendous impact outsized to the, to the amount of effort invested in it. I mean, it's not that quick or easy and we still have a lot of work to do to continue to build a system for understanding what individual department's emissions are, for learning how to do better life cycle cost analysis, to learn with carbon emissions of different construction decisions are, and it's a process, but it's absolutely been worth it.

Dave Karlsgodt 21:03

It took me a while to get my own head around your program. I think partly because I heard about Yale's originally and it was cool what they were doing, but it seemed like it was an academic exercise in some ways and seemed like there was a lot of work going into figuring out how to charge people. And, to that point, I think, you know, the other person's complaint about the program could be true for a school that's not Yale, that's not like a major research institution doing that kind of work anyway. But it's, it's interesting to see how you've sort of morphed that into your own, into your own program. So you have all this this money, what are you using, what are some of the projects that have come out of that so far? You're doing some actual, you know, boots on the ground or shovels in the dirt or whatever the right expression is?

Nathan Graf 21:49

Yes, yes, yes. So, so one chunk of the money in the first year went to planning assessment and that helped us undertake a facilities condition assessment to identify all of our lists of efficiency projects that you can undertake on campus, and then we funded a green revolving fund with the other chunk of it to help actually start to undertake those. On our campus, we are highly prioritizing lighting efficiency right now. We have a lot of potential for LED upgrades that pay for themselves very, very quickly. So that's, that's been our process. So, we've done some retrofits of our athletic facility lighting. We're looking into the tennis courts. We've outdoor lighting. We're now looking at libraries and the science center as our next big projects.

Dave Karlsgodt 22:32

Got it. But because it's coming from the carbon program, everybody knows about it. Like they sort of associate their money with that versus it just being in the facility department, or is that...

Nathan Graf 22:41

Yeah, that's what we're working towards, yeah.

Dave Karlsgodt 22:43

Okay. That makes sense. Well, so tell me more about how you've been interacting with other schools that are doing this. You've mentioned Yale. I know I became aware of your program through some conference calls that you and, I think Yale and Vassar, were leading a couple years ago. What did you learn from those other schools? Just tell me more about how you've collaborated.

Nathan Graf 23:03

Yeah. So immediately, of course, after we launched, we reached out to Yale and we reached out to Vassar, who was just in a similar stage of having launching their own shadow price program. After those conversations and learning about the potential here, we've been really interested in sharing this solution more broadly with higher education. And we've had a lot of conversations and hosted a conference and regularly speak at Smart Sustainable Campus Conference, AASHE, and others about how to start a carbon pricing program. Since then, and we can't claim credit for it, but I think it is a growing solution. And Arizona State University, I understand, as a shadow price now. MIT is starting a shadow price in facilities. I think Princeton may have had one even, even before we did. And now Smith and Wesleyan, I think, are at least engaged in conversation and taking steps towards considering that option. So we're really excited to bring the solution to higher education more broadly. Actually, as exciting and innovative as it as a school to undertake, there are hundreds of companies that are already, already pricing carbon. So we think it's, the higher education sector actually has a little bit of catching up to do in some ways. And then beyond working with other sustainability staff, we also that student Put A Price On It group has been reaching out to the students at a lot of other schools. And we're we're excited for to find those opportunities for coordination and collaboration for the students.

Dave Karlsgodt 24:27

Yeah, it's been interesting. I've seen, you know, I know, even Exxon Mobil, and certainly Microsoft and Google and some other companies like that are using various forms of shadow pricing and other techniques. So I know one of the challenges in doing the, you know, using a price and we run into this in our own analysis in my work is what price do you use? Because if you use a really low price, like you know, $5 a ton, or if it's in line with what you would buy low quality offsets, or, you know, unverified offsets, I guess it's probably the better way to say it, it doesn't really change your decision making because it's, frankly, not that expensive. But if it's really expensive, you know, like $100 a ton, all of a sudden it will start moving the needle on a decision you would have made one way will make it another way. So how have you landed on a price that you use? Or what price have you used? I guess we haven't really talked about that.

Nathan Graf 25:16

Yeah, yeah. So our levy on departments is about $24 a ton. And our shadow price is about $100 a ton. So first, I want to acknowledge, like a really common way to select that is, is based on the social cost of carbon framework which asks the question, "what is the damage from emitting one more ton of carbon into the atmosphere?" And the EPA did this really preliminary analysis that incorporated things like the cost of increased heating and air conditioning costs and the real estate value that would go underwater and some loss of agriculture and some spread of certain diseases and it's a very limited analysis. Digging into the bigger questions of what the climate impacts are actually going to look like in terms of resource worries, in terms of mass migration, in terms of political instability, and that gets to a point where it's really impossible to know if the social cost of carbon is 100 or 1,000 or greater. So in some ways, I've actually found, as common as it is for people to just say, like that $40 medium number as the default, I think it's actually more helpful to look at a framework asking the question of what price on carbon is necessary to align developed economies with a two degree scenario? And that's also, there's also a big range there, for sure. But it's a little bit narrower. And most of the research that we could find was pretty consistently in the band of about 50, to about $200 per ton. So you know, also also a factor of four range, but a little bit more contained. And that's where it's worth working to $100 a ton.

Dave Karlsgodt 26:48

You use that for your shadow pricing for infrastructure decision making, not for charging your infrastructure?

Nathan Graf 26:54

And charging a department is also influenced by questions about the impacts on individual department budgets and how much revenue that we have the capacity to just to spend effectively. When you're moving money within the institution, there's some, some other other factors.

Dave Karlsgodt 27:08

Got it. Yeah, yeah, that makes sense. The realities of departmental budgeting are complicated enough, I suppose.

Nathan Graf 27:15

Yes, and that's reflected in most of these hundreds of businesses that have shadow, or have carbon prices, have lower charges on branches, higher shadow prices on capital investments, and very high shadow prices, in some cases, on research and development priorities.

Dave Karlsgodt 27:31

Got it. And I suppose that has to do with the length of the decision that you're making. The department's annual budget is going to reset next year and you can always change that carbon price for next year as time goes on, or, versus putting in a building that's going to be there for 100 years.

Nathan Graf 27:45


Dave Karlsgodt 27:45

Now's the time to make that decision. Okay, that makes sense. Yeah. And I, you know, to that EPA study, I remember reading and hearing quite a bit about that. And I, from what I understand, they basically said, we will put in there what we can quantify, but there were a lot of things they couldn't quantify and at a certain point, you start destroying the economy itself, it's therefore money has no meaning. And then you sort of get into this, the, the dollar amount doesn't actually have a value at all, right? So, I guess, you do the best you can.

Nathan Graf 27:49


Dave Karlsgodt 27:57

Well, okay, so now, this has been in place again, since 2015, and what would you do differently now? Like, if you were to set it up all over again and have to go back in time, how might you approach it differently than you did? Or did it just go really well? It sounds like it's gone pretty smoothly, but...

Nathan Graf 28:33

Yeah, I mean we've had no shortages of challenges in many of our programs, but this one's actually, yeah, this one's gone pretty, pretty, pretty clean cut. I think the faculty reading group did a lot of work to bring in a lot of stakeholders and I think that went really well. And like taking that even one step further, it took us a minute to bring ITS into the conversation or Information Technology Services, especially about efficiency projects and metering that they are it's really important for them to be at the table early. Yeah, I don't have any large changes immediately off the top of my head.

Dave Karlsgodt 29:07

But it sounds like, yeah, having that group of faculty members that knew how the university works, or the college works, probably have a lot to do with that, rather than this, like say being a mandate from the president and just saying, thou shalt make this happen. But is that partly why you think it went so smoothly? Or what what else might have contributed to that?

Nathan Graf 29:27

Yeah, absolutely. And to their credit, so they actually they went to the president first. And they went to President Smith and she was on board and thought this made sense, but she said "that sounds great, but you need to talk to all these other stakeholders first, they're not going to mandate this." And then they went through that process of engaging with so many other members of campus and then, then they're able to bring it back to the to the President and the Board of Managers and say, like, we've brought in all of this other feedback and heard all these lunges and we've addressed, we've made these changes and address these concerns, and these people are excited now. And now we have campus wide buy in. And the that was the point where they're ready to sign off on it.

Dave Karlsgodt 30:03

I'm sure they like it when they can sign off on something like that where everybody's on board, let's go. Yeah, that's, that's exciting. Well, good. Well, anything else I didn't ask you about or anything you'd like to share with the world that we haven't talked about so far?

Nathan Graf 30:17

Yeah, I think that that covered the major bases. We're super excited to talk with any schools who want to learn more about internal carbon pricing, carbon pricing more broadly, or help think through what it might look like at their own institution and how to get that done. We'll also be hosting a couple sessions at AASHE including a pre slash post conference workshop, if you want to take a day to workshop through with us as well as Kasey Pinkett from Yale and some folks at Smith. Yeah, we're really excited to help bring carbon pricing to higher education.

Dave Karlsgodt 30:46

Well, great, Nathan, thanks for having me here at your office today. It was, it was fun to do my first live podcast interview. You're my first in-person one. So thanks for taking the time.

Nathan Graf 30:56

Yeah, and thanks so much for the opportunity to share.

Dave Karlsgodt 30:59

That's it for this episode. To learn more, you can always see the show notes at our website at campusenergypodcast.com. You can follow us on Twitter, we are @energypodcast. This show is a free service, but if you'd like to support the show, please consider leaving a rating or review on iTunes or just telling a friend about the show. As always, thanks for listening.

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