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A Tip o' the Hat to the School behind the new 'Cap'

Presidio Graduate School aligned with new carbon market auction

By Jeanne Pengelly, Axiom News

Internationally speaking, the new AB 32 cap-and-trade carbon market launched this week in California, is creating a buzz.

Newspapers around the world headlined it with words such as 'landmark' and 'milestone.' And as the news seeped through the mainstream media, there was no prouder parent than Presidio Graduate School, where many of the cap-and-trade movers and shakers originate.

California began auctioning permits Nov. 14 for greenhouse gas emissions; with the auction, the state launched what some are calling “one of the world's most ambitious efforts” to cut carbon emissions. It works by capping emissions from individual polluters. If a business fails to meet the cap, it can buy an allowance through the auction from other companies that are able to dip under the cap. Prices paid this week and bidders' names are set to be revealed Nov. 19.

Presidio was awarded the consultancy work for the California Air Resources Board to make the cap-and-trade dream a reality; as well, many Presidio students are directly involved in the design and implementation of new AB 32 – as the state's environmental legislation is called - programs.

Presidio President William Shutkin calls it a “milestone” not just for the school but also for the state of California, which is now the only state with a cap-and-trade carbon market.

“This is huge for our school, our state and our country,” he wrote in a comment on an NPR article about the legislation November 14. “It positions California as the home and hub for green business going forward in a new race to the top among the states, and our school is part of the enabling infrastructure.”

Presidio graduates are almost like a farm system for the policy team that leads the state's six-year-old AB 32 legislation. As well, EOS Climate, an AB 32 company founded by Presidio alumni, is a leader in advancing climate-friendly business practices.

Kristin York is a member of the Presidio faculty who also consults to the California Air Resources Board.

“I'm confident that the state of California has the right people in charge of this program,” she says. “We're at a tipping point in the public sector and the private sector where something needs to be done, someone needs to take a stand. The cap-and-trade program really drives innovation away from fossil fuels, and is potentially a huge boon for the state of California.”

“Personally I admire their courage their energy and their accomplishments,” says Faculty Member Ed Quevedo. “This is not something we told the students to do. I would like them to know that it is our fondest wish for them to be doing things like this, taking action to support the things they think are important to them.”