Recent Grad Takes Charge Of Carbon Charge

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Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Swarthmore College’s Office of Sustainability has recently employed a new Climate Action Senior Fellow: Nathaniel Graf ‘16. Graf, while a student at Swarthmore, was involved with Mountain Justice and the Office of Sustainability and partook in the student takeover of The Board of Manager’s open meeting during the Spring of 2013– otherwise known as “The Spring of Our Discontent.”

Graf, in their new position at the office, will be in charge of implementing Swarthmore’s new carbon charge and working on sharing the model with other colleges and universities. “I’m very passionate about the power of carbon pricing as a policy, so I applied [to the Climate Action Senior Fellow position],” they wrote to us in an email.

Some questions Graf will be researching as a fellow involve how the social cost of carbon will change each year, how carbon usage of each department will be measured in the long run, and how the Carbon Charge Fund will be managed. Graf, after completing their research, will discuss their findings with the Carbon Charge Committee, who will then recommend further action to the Sustainability and Climate Executive Committee. Because the Carbon Charge is still a work in progress, Graf’s responsibility will be to work out the details to many of the questions outlined above. In addition, they will be communicating with the campus community and other higher education institutions on the methodology and progress of the program.

“In the future, I’ll probably be focused more on communication about what the Carbon Charge Committee is doing and what projects the fund is supporting” they wrote. Graf will be working with the President’s Sustainability Research Fellows, Olivia Cheng ‘17 and Aaron Metheny ‘18, to inform Swarthmore’s student body about the goals of the carbon charge program through emails, workshops, and presentations. 

“The ultimate goal, as with all work in sustainability, is to work myself out of a job– I hope that the program is successful enough to reduce our carbon emissions quickly and that we can achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible and render the carbon charge void.” They wrote.

Though Graf’s research will hopefully one day draw to a close, the recent Swarthmore grad has already demonstrated that they are turning their conclusions into new beginnings.

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Correction 9/11 8:40 p.m: this article originally used incorrect gender pronouns for Nathaniel Graf. We apologize for the error.

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