Schneider Fellow (Climate Policy Intern)

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


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EDF offers internships and fellowships for students and recent graduates in a variety of programs and departments throughout the organization. The ultimate goal of our internship and fellowship program is to provide high-quality experiences (including relevant projects and opportunities for networking) that form the foundation for any individual who is serious about pursuing an environmental career.

Project Overview

While the Trump Administration continues to take steps that undermine national climate policies, the landscape for meaningful action on climate at the state level is better than it has been in a decade, due in part to the 2018 Midterm elections. EDF is moving forward to put in place strong, market-based carbon limits at the state level. State-level climate action has the potential to provide us with the legal, technical, and political foundation for more ambitious federal action on a faster timeline, while simultaneously securing critically-important near-term emission reductions. Adopting a limit on carbon emissions in EDF’s core target states could cut an additional 1.1 billion short tons of carbon pollution cumulatively between 2021 and 2030—comparable to the carbon reductions that California will achieve from 2018 through 2030.

Following President Trump’s 2017 announcement that the U.S. would leave the Paris Agreement on climate change, a diverse group of U.S. states, cities, businesses, and others coalesced to reiterate their continued commitment to addressing climate change. Sixteen states are now part of a U.S. Climate Alliance, while nearly 280 cities and counties, along with 2,100 businesses from every state in the nation, have publicly committed to working to meet the Paris Agreement climate goals. California and the nine Northeastern states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) have strengthened and expanded their existing carbon markets for the power sector and there are opportunities for additional major emitting sectors, like transportation, to be added. At least 15 major power companies accounting for over 20 percent of U.S. generating capacity have made significant carbon reduction commitments since the 2016 election. With electricity generation accounting for nearly 30 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, accelerating the decarbonization of the power sector will secure meaningful reductions in carbon pollution in the near term and pave the way for deep reductions in emissions across the entire economy by mid-century.

Overall Function

National-level action is needed to achieve our climate goals, but as has been the case with numerous other environmental policies, incubation and implementation at the state level can lay a strong foundation for federal action. States across the country - spanning the mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and the Rockies — are ripe for advancing ambitious limits on carbon pollution. The Fellow will help advance state carbon limit policies by deeply engaging in regulatory, political, and other processes in EDF core states.

Key Responsibilities

  1. Prepare a “hotspot” analysis for facilities covered under an economy-wide market-based carbon trading system in 1-2 target states. The Fellow will collect conventional and toxic air emissions data, as available from federal and state data sources, for covered facilities to assess potential public health and environmental justice issues. The Fellow will reach out to local allies, air regulators, and communities to gather information, and will partner with local and community-based groups to undertake the research. The analysis will include several metrics including facility emissions trends over time, demographics information in the surrounding area, proximity of the facility to schools, hospitals and other sensitive locations, public health data, and other relevant information about the facilities and communities. The Fellow will work with EDF staff to present the data to coalition partners and decision-makers at the conclusion of the project, and participate in internal and external conversations about implications of the analysis for policy design.
  2. Partnering with EDF staff, participate and contribute to conversations with state officials and key stakeholders and partners about climate policies, including by providing relevant technical information and other data that inform our strategies to advance carbon limits. Discussions on the practical details of implementing carbon limits have commenced to varying degrees in EDF’s target states. The summer of 2019 will likely be a pivotal time for regulatory and/or other processes necessary for getting carbon limit programs in place throughout several states.
  3. Work to develop broad-based coalition support for states working to adopt carbon limits, especially among diverse communities that are not often engaged in clean air regulatory processes or discussions on carbon policy design. One overarching goal of this work will be to begin to develop strategies and best practices about how to approach the intersection of conventional/toxic air pollution and climate policy with coalition partners, including assessing current air quality challenges and potential impacts from the state/s adopting a climate policy, while also working to leverage any partnerships to explore opportunities to advocate for more protective conventional/toxic air protections in complementary regulatory processes (e.g. EPA clean air federal rules).  


  • Strong research, quantitative and analytical skills.
  • Intellectually curious, tech savvy, and passionate about reducing environmental impacts.
  • Knowledge of the U.S political landscape relating to the discussion on Climate..
  • Experience with Microsoft Office suite tools.

Location Washington, DC


12 weeks during the Summer


To be considered please apply by submitting your resume, cover letter, and a writing sample.