Environmental Defense Fund: Climate and Energy Economics Fellow

Apply here. (Applications due Friday, January 13, 2017)

Non-U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for this position.

Website: www.edf.org

Location: New York, NY

Fellowship Position

Position title: Climate and Energy Economics Fellow

Department: Office of Economic Policy and Analysis (OEPA)

Reports to:  Economist

Address of fellowship placement: 257 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10010

Department Description

The Office of Economic Policy and Analysis (OEPA) is a department that works with and across EDF’s different programs to strengthen program work and policy positions through economic analysis and independent research. It consists of a team of eight economists with diverse expertise covering climate policy, natural gas and electricity markets, oceans and fisheries, and water and land use impacts. The fellow will work with OEPA and EDF’s Global Climate, Clean Energy, and Oil & Gas programs on a variety of climate change and energy issues. These include carbon pricing advocacy and carbon market design, reducing methane emissions from the natural gas supply chain, reducing local pollution (to water and air) from oil and gas development, and working to reform the electricity and natural gas markets in order to support the integration of intermittent renewables into the energy system.

Position Description

The Climate and Energy Economics Fellow will be an integral part of OEPA’s climate and energy team, helping to strengthen the economic analytical knowledge base that supports EDF’s climate and energy goals. There are already several projects underway in which the Fellow can be readily integrated, which together offer great opportunities for them to add immediate value, while gaining a comprehensive understanding of US energy markets, and global carbon markets. The Fellow will work on four primary projects spanning all key areas of EDF’s climate and energy work -- as described in more detail below.  In support of these projects, the Fellow will perform a variety of duties, including conducting academic literature reviews, collecting data and performing data analyses using statistical and econometric methods, and co-authoring a variety of writings including policy briefs, reports, and blog posts.

Examples of specific responsibilities, projects, tasks, and/or duties of the Fellow include:

We anticipate that the High Meadows Fellow will contribute substantially to four primary areas of work, which may include the following:

  • Expanding carbon pricing domestically and abroad: Around the world, policymakers are facing the challenge of finding the most efficient systems to limit global warming pollution. Nations, states, provinces and cities are increasingly turning towards carbon pricing mechanisms to achieve their emissions reductions targets. Carbon pricing will indeed be a crucial tool to realize the ambition of the Paris agreement, which aims to hold the increase in the global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius. OEPA works with the Global Climate program to evaluate, design, and build support for existing carbon markets and for prospective carbon pricing systems, through policy analysis, economic modeling, capacity building, and advocacy. The Fellow will be a key player on this team. Specifically, they will help:
    • Support and strengthen state and regional carbon pricing initiatives, such as California’s AB32 and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), by conducting analyses illustrating the environmental and economic successes of these programs and helping to deliver input on program design as they adjust over time;
    • Support EDF’s global carbon markets advocacy, by providing research, policy analysis, and economic modeling to understand the impact on emissions pathways, emissions reduction targets, and national/regional economies of deepening, broadening, and linking carbon markets across the globe. EDF’s global climate advocacy includes exciting new work exploring the implications of climate action in fast-developing countries, such as India, Mexico, and Brazil.​
  • Understanding the economics of short-lived climate pollutants: EDF has been at the forefront of advocating the importance of addressing both short-lived climate pollutants (such as methane, HFCs, and black carbon) and long-lived climate pollutants (such as CO2), particularly through the organization’s efforts to reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas systems. Short-lived climate pollutants are significant contributors to climate change on decadal timeframes. While their climate impacts are generally well understood, the economic implications of their emissions are still being studied. The Fellow will support OEPA’s engagement in this area, working alongside internal and external experts on the following topics:​
    • The social costs of short-lived greenhouse gases: The Fellow will conduct literature reviews, identify and interact with external experts, as well as help develop agendas for expert workshops, with the goal of understanding and synthesizing current scientific knowledge on the impact of short-lived greenhouse gas emissions, as well as identifying existing research gaps;
    • Integrating short-lived greenhouse gases in climate policy targets and carbon markets: Through research and quantitative analysis, the Fellow will support OEPA’s thought leadership in understanding the best way to integrate short-lived climate pollutants in climate policy targets, and creating novel approaches for trading different greenhouse gases in the context of emissions trading systems, with a focus on accurately accounting for tradeoffs in climate impacts and gas lifetime; 
    • Expanding EDF’s natural gas work outside the U.S.: As a primary short-term climate forcer, methane is the single most powerful untapped opportunity we have to slow the rate of global warming, quickly and cheaply -- and the oil and gas industry is the largest industrial source of methane globally. In the near term, EDF sees opportunity to extend our U.S. methane work to Canada and Mexico; and over the next few years, we aim to engage a broader set of countries and companies in the effort to reduce oil and gas methane emissions. The Fellow will support this advocacy by conducting rigorous data and policy analysis.  Specially, they will identify, collect and process data on country-, company, and project-level methane emissions, and on the economics of reducing methane emissions in different countries around the world.
  • Reforming wholesale energy markets for a clean energy future: A clean energy future will mean shifting away from relying predominantly on a fleet of dispatchable fossil fuel fired generators towards more reliance on renewables. This will require a redesign of wholesale electricity markets, which were set up based on the past paradigm of large-scale dispatchable generation, to more flexibly integrate variable renewables and more responsive demand. It will also require changes in the natural gas wholesale markets to address the needs of electricity markets with a high penetration of renewables. EDF is working for reforms that will make it possible to cost-effectively integrate more renewables in the wholesale electricity markets and ensure that natural gas markets provide flexibles services that enable natural gas generators to obtain the gas deliveries they need to be able to flexibly respond to changes in the electric supply from intermittent renewables. The Fellow would support this advocacy by performing analyses on the benefits of energy market reform.
  • Unlocking state oil & gas data to prevent groundwater pollution:  The Fellow will support our work focused on reducing groundwater pollution and other related local impacts of domestic gas development by building the capacity of the state regulators and catalyzing improved environmental performance within the industry.  Specifically, he/she would conduct a focused analysis of data sets collected by leading state agencies (e.g., Colorado and Pennsylvania) on inspections, violations (leaks, spills, etc.), and citizen complaints. Using econometric and statistical techniques, the Fellow will test aspects of our broader hypotheses -- that state regulators, as well as industry, have the data necessary to identify trends and hotspots and ultimately to design predictive models capable of preventing potential groundwater pollution events from occurring. The Fellow will build upon a project begun by a prior intern and will provide the additional analytical work needed to produce peer-reviewed publications, as well as internal reports and policy recommendations.

Qualifications

  • Strong background in economics and, in particular, econometrics and/or statistics. Additionally, coursework in environmental policy is preferred but not necessary as long as there is a demonstrated genuine interest in environmental issues.
  • Any previous knowledge of climate policy (domestic and international), carbon pricing design, and energy markets is an advantage but not a requirement.
  • Fluency in conducting quantitative analysis using Excel. Familiarity with other quantitative tools or statistical packages an advantage, but not a requirement.

Professional Development

The High Meadow’s fellow would have the opportunity to participate in:

  • OEPA’s own economics seminar series that features external experts and academics who are invited to come present on issues of particular interest to EDF. 
  • The OEPA, Oil & Gas, and All-Staff retreats in order to meet the diverse and interdisciplinary staff across the organization, learn more about other ongoing EDF work.
  • Workshops and conferences relevant to the Fellow’s projects. His/her supervisor will help identify the best opportunities and secure travel funds.
  • EDF’s Tuition Reimbursement and Professional Development program.