Postdoctoral Climate Science Fellow

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)
Various, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 


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With world attention on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. By focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. We are one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of approximately 630 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We operate in 22 geographies with unique projects running across four programs. You will be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and results are a way of life.


The Office of Chief Scientist (OCS) is the nexus of science at EDF, ensuring that the scientific backbone for all EDF policy positions is based on the best available information. To be effective in this role, OCS works with staff from across EDF and provides programmatic support for all EDF scientists as well as fosters relationships with scientists in academia, government and industry.


Position Description

Under the supervision of the Chief Scientist and Climate Scientist, EDF seeks a recent Ph.D. recipient to work collaboratively with other EDF scientists in advancing policy relevant climate science in support of EDF-wide programmatic activities. The postdoc will be a part of the cross-programmatic climate science team, and will focus on research related to the climate impacts of greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions and their mitigation, with a specific focus on methane and other short-lived climate pollutants. Specific projects may include using metrics and simple models to quantify how various activities that emit short-lived climate pollutants contribute to current and future warming, and how much future warming can be avoided by deploying specific mitigation actions. Particular consideration will be given to applicants with expertise in climate modeling, climate metrics, atmospheric radiation, and atmospheric chemistry, and an interest in operating at the intersection of science and policy. This is a two year fellowship contingent on satisfactory progress toward agreed-upon annual objectives.

Key Responsibilities

  • Conduct research leading to improved understanding of the temperature impacts of climate pollutant emissions from various sectors, with a specific focus on sectors that emit methane and other short-lived climate pollutants.
  • Develop quantitative scientific information regarding benefits of various climate pollutant mitigation strategies and how they relate to the international 1.5 and 2 degree global temperature goals.  
  • Perform modeling and analytical assessments of climate pollutant emissions as needed.
  • Support EDF's efforts in developing U.S. state and federal climate policy strategies for addressing both short- and long-lived climate pollutants.
  • Support EDF's advocacy by helping prepare outreach materials to policy makers, other stakeholders, and the interested public.
  • Become familiar with and keep up-to-date on the relevant scientific and/or policy literature and to synthesize and disseminate that information for EDF scientists, economists, lawyers and policy specialists.  
  • Participate in writing papers for publication in peer-reviewed journals, and reports/fact sheets/blog posts for general audiences on the topic of focus.
  • Serve as an EDF science representative to ensure EDF's policy decisions, legal positions, and communications are based on the best available science.
  • Ensure accuracy of EDF climate science-related communication materials.
  • Use independent judgment and scientific expertise to plan and prioritize a balanced workload and set day-to-day priorities for meeting project goals and deadlines.
  • Participate in scientific conferences, working groups, and career development training.

Required Qualifications

  • A recent Ph.D. in atmospheric science with relevant scientific training and related professional experience.
  • Strong quantitative skills (modeling, programming, statistical analysis) and a commitment to rigorous scientific analysis.
  • A track record of peer-reviewed publications, leadership of a research project, and presentations at scientific conferences.
  • Demonstrated excellence in oral and written communication of scientific concepts to both technical and general audiences.
  • Interest in real-world application of scientific theory, and comfort with communicating research findings and concepts with various stakeholders in government, industry, international organizations, etc.
  • Intellectual agility and comfort with working across disciplines and learning new skills.
  • Ability to work independently, manage time efficiently, and collaborate effectively with diverse colleagues in a fast-paced environment.
  • Interest in climate policy and interpreting research findings for policy applications.
  • A passion for environmental protection and knowledge of relevant environmental policy issues.
  • Willingness to travel.

Preferred Skills and Previous Experience

  • Experience with a range of climate modeling tools, such as simplified metrics, reduced-complexity climate models, and sophisticated coupled global climate models.
  • Strong science communication skills, including oral, written, and visual.


This location of this position is flexible. Location options include Boston, MA, Washington, DC, San Francisco, CA, New York, NY, and Austin, TX.

Application materials

All interested applicants must submit a resume and cover letter explaining their interest in the position.