Director (California Climate)

San Francisco or Sacramento, CA, US

With world attention focused on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. This leading green group, with programs from Boston to Beijing, has tripled in size over the past decade by focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches. You can be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and a focus on results are a way of life.

EDF has long been a leader on climate and energy policy in California.  We have championed the use of market-based solutions, including the cap-and-trade program established under the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32), California’s comprehensive 2006 climate law that EDF co-sponsored.  AB32’s success in promoting economic growth and emissions reductions in the first few years of implementation has helped galvanize action globally, where almost 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions are now covered under a carbon price.  The world has reached a critical inflection point where resolute climate leadership and increased ambition of climate action are essential to fulfilling the promise of the 2015 Paris Agreement and ensuring we soon reach a point where global emissions stop rising and begin to fall. California has a familiar, essential role to play.


California needs to pivot, over the next couple of years, from its current, successful 2020 climate program to a longer-term, more ambitious and inclusive policy approach.  This pivot will require concerted engagement by leading NGOs such as EDF, and robust partnerships among diverse stakeholders whose voices and interests need to be fully incorporated into this next generation of policies.  EDF is seeking to expand our California Climate team by adding a senior leader to build a robust in-state team and to leverage the unparalleled depth of expertise and experience throughout the organization.

The Director, California Climate will serve as the internal and external leader of our California climate program.  S/he will implement a comprehensive campaign to strengthen and extend California’s climate policies beyond 2020, to build sustained, long-term political support for the state’s polices, and to ensure the legal and technical soundness of the program.  S/he will represent EDF in various forums with NGO, business, and government stakeholders, including legislative and gubernatorial staff, and will play a key role in communicating about our work and the overall outcomes of California’s policies.

The Director, California Climate will be based in either Sacramento or San Francisco, CA, and will report to the Associate Vice President for Global Climate.  As we attract additional resources, we anticipate hiring one or more staff to report to the Director.


  • Serve as the day-to-day point person on EDF’s work on California climate policy and politics, with a focus on advocating for legislative and administrative policies to establish long-term GHG reduction targets, and on ensuring effective implementation of and public awareness and acceptance of current policies
  • Cultivate broad and effective stakeholder relationships with key partners, including environmental, environmental justice, academic, and business organizations
  • Identify research and analytical needs to support our advocacy, including pinpointing opportunities to create evidence of California’s successes, propose solutions to improve policy efficacy, and generate useful data and information that can be used by other jurisdictions looking at similar policies
  • Write and disseminate blogs, white papers, policy briefs, fact sheets, and other materials aimed at external audiences
  • Direct a small internal team of California-based experts, and create or convene cross-organizational teams as needed to support California work
  • Represent EDF in external settings (e.g., conferences, legislative hearings, meetings with other environmental organizations, research institutions, or corporations), as needed
  • Support the VP and AVP, Global Climate, in developing and articulating a compelling vision for EDF’s role in California and the catalytic impact California is having in driving action among other jurisdictions, especially Canada and Mexico


  • Requires 10-12 years of relevant, increasingly responsible experience
  • An advanced degree (Master’s, J.D., or Ph.D.)
  • Managerial experience. The ability to lead professionals in a collegial and team-centered manner.
  • Strong awareness of the California policy and political landscape, including current relationships with key stakeholders and decisionmakers
  • General knowledge of climate policy issues
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and capacity to work well as part of a team across programs and departments
  • Deft listening and facilitation ability, including interest in participating in or managing cooperative, consensus-building dialogues among peer organizations
  • Superb writing and presentation skills
  • Ability lead and inspire others, internally and externally
  • Willingness to work autonomously, set priorities, and take initiative consistent with broad strategic guidance
  • Experience engaging with media is a plus 

Environmental Defense Fund is an Equal Opportunity Employer