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California Leading the Nation on Carbon Legislation



California’s Cap-and-Trade Program

In This Episode:

[01:16] Guest Arjun Patney is introduced.

[02:11] Arjun describes his work at the American Carbon Registry.

[04:28] Arjun explains how the California carbon market works.

[07:26] Arjun talks about what was exempt from the market.

[08:42] Since California is a large exporter of agricultural product, did that have a part in the decision making?

[09:22] Arjun gives his thoughts on why the agricultural sector is less regulated than the industrial sector.

[09:56] Arjun talks about why there’s been less-than-expected revenue for various programs.

[12:37] How can cap-and-trade legislation become a bipartisan issue?

[15:29] Arjun states what was done in this legislation to address concerns about people who might bear burdens disproportionately.

[17:46] Arjun touches on the future of carbon market legislation. 


Michael Green is the Executive Director of the Climate Action Business Association (CABA). He is also co-host here on Infinite Earth Radio. Michael is a seasoned advocate for climate policy and environmental action and has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change. Since 2012, he has served as a representative to the United Nations focusing on international climate science and policy. As an activist, he has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change. In his role at CABA, Michael manages staff and oversees the development of all program areas. He sits on the Board of Boston area non-profits as well as a policy advisor to national business associations on topics ranging from energy policy to climate adaptation. Michael is a Northeastern University graduate with degrees in international affairs and environmental studies, course work at the University of Edinburgh’s MSc Program in Environmental Protection and Management and Harvard Business School’s CORe Program.

Climate Action Business Association (CABA) is a membership-based organization in Boston, Massachusetts, that helps businesses take targeted action on climate change. We provide our member businesses with the resources and tools needed to work within their business on sustainability efforts, political advocacy and building a community of shared values.

Guest and Organization:

Arjun Patney is the Policy Director of Winrock’s American Carbon Registry, which engages with regulators in California and other jurisdictions to help ensure that market-based climate change mitigation programs address the full range of emissions reduction opportunities. In this way, he advances greenhouse gas mitigation that delivers economic opportunities as well as environmental and social benefits. Patney’s diverse experience in the environmental field spans technical, policy and business spheres. Practical sustainability solutions have been the common thread of his work in the U.S. and Asia, whether he was negotiating carbon credit deals, implementing environmental management systems, engineering spill controls, or helping foreign clean tech companies enter Asian markets. Patney previously established the U.S. carbon trading desk at the multinational corporation Cargill and subsequently worked with USAID to advance international forest carbon markets. He received a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an M.S. in environmental management and policy from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.

Winrock has long recognized the threat posed by climate change. The American Carbon Registry (ACR), founded in 1996 and operated by Winrock, is dedicated to the belief that markets are the most effective tools to tackle climate change. As such, ACR has developed transparent and science-based methodologies to incentivize carbon reductions in agriculture, transportation and other industries. ACR is also a partner in assuring that California’s landmark Cap-and-Trade Program can manage, verify and credit carbon offsets effectively.

Take Away Quotes:

“American Carbon Registry, or ACR, is broader than just California. We did exist long before the California market was established. We were actually the first voluntary greenhouse gas registry in the world.”

“The Cap-and-Trade Program here covers most of the economy—some 80, 85% of the economy—and it covers emissions from power generation, including imports; it covers industry…and transportation and heating fuels, meaning all of the gasoline for use in the vehicles is also covered by the program, which is a first for a cap-and-trade program.”

“Agriculture, conventionally in this country, has not faced the same types of environmental regulation as the industrial sectors of our economy.”


Climate Action Business Association (CABA)

American Carbon Registry at Winrock International