Climate action

Roles with a direct impact on emissions reduction; includes carbon management and carbon finance.

Overview

This page looks at roles that have a direct impact on the reduction of emissions. 

The process engineering, chemical engineering, and technical roles involved in renewables, green hydrogen, and carbon capture, utilisation and storage are not covered here, but these areas have massive potential for growth as new technologies are developed and utilised. For information on roles within these areas see the following links:

Renewables

Job profiles in engineering and manufacturing (Prospects)  

So you want to do something about Climate Change    Royal Meteorological Society; YouTube playlist of 12 short films which "explore some of the many careers in climate change that you could do with qualifications in STEM subjects. If you want to work in an area where you can do something positive about climate change, but don’t know how, have a look at the work that these people do, why they think it’s important and the paths they took to the jobs that they now do."

Careers to solve the climate crisis     University of Cambridge; YouTube playlist focussing on public sector roles, the built environment, and nature based solutions.

Below, we focus on carbon management and climate finance or carbon finance. These related areas are often covered by the same organisations, and there has been a growth in the number of carbon advisory service organisations which offer a range of services in this area and therefore recruit to posts looking for a range of backgrounds and professional experience. 

Carbon management 

This is a broad area, including roles in research, policy, policy delivery, consultancy, and carbon auditing and reporting.  

Roles with titles such as Environmental Manager, Environmental Consultant and Sustainability Manager may all contain elements of carbon management as part of a wider range of responsibilities relating to the organisation’s wider management and communication of its impact on the environment. 

Job profile: Environmental manager  (Prospects) 

Job profile: Environmental consultant  (Prospects) 

Job profile: Sustainability consultant (Prospects) 

Job profile: Carbon accountant (Green Careers Hub)

Carbon finance 

The term Carbon finance, or climate finance, is closely associated with international climate change negotiation, and the movement of funding from developed to developing nations for the purpose of climate adaptation and mitigation. Key players in this include the World Bank, the United Nations and the European Commission. At a national level, the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office both play a part in policy development and delivery through programmes such as the Climate Finance Accelerator.  

Climate Finance Accelerator  

Climate finance refers to “local, national or transnational financing—drawn from public, private and alternative sources of financing—that seeks to support mitigation and adaptation actions that will address climate change.”  

UN Climate Change: Introduction to Climate Finance

The UK’s Green Finance Strategy recognises the role of the financial sector in delivering climate and environmental objectives and focuses on:  

  • “greening finance”: ensuring financial risks and opportunities from climate and environmental factors are integrated into mainstream financial decision making  

  • “financing green”: mobilising finance – including private finance - to support the delivery of the UK’s carbon targets as well as international objectives 

The Climate Bonds Initiative aims to mobilise global capital for climate action by steering financial institutions towards low-carbon investments:

Climate Bonds Initiative

Carbon trading (also called emissions trading or carbon offsetting) is the buying and selling of carbon credits to “compensate” for a company’s heavy carbon footprint. The carbon market comprises the compliance, or regulatory, market (regulated programmes such as the EU Emissions Trading System) and the voluntary market. The voluntary market sells carbon credits created by climate-friendly projects to businesses that choose to buy them in order to offset their emissions because they are unable to do that by other means. 

Job profile: Financial trader  

Financial institutions continue to respond to increasing client concerns about climate change; asset management companies and investment banks are establishing or expanding roles in climate fund management. 

Work experience 

Some of the ways you can develop useful experience while you’re a student are suggested in the Work experience section here: 

Sustainability and Green Jobs

Work experience that’s related to your degree, such as engineering or accounting, may be most appropriate for you.   

Postgraduate study 

Many advertised jobs in these areas will require or expect a Masters degree in a relevant subject.  

Examples of organisations where graduates of this university’s MSc in Carbon Management have gone on to work are given here: 

MSc Carbon Management  

Examples of organisations where graduates of this university’s MSc in Climate Change Finance and Investment have gone on to work are given here: 

MSc Climate Change Finance and Investment 

Typical employers 

The institutions and organisations below are given as examples rather than comprehensive lists, and you will be able to find others. Many of them fit in multiple categories and whatever your interest it’s worth looking at all of them. 

Graduate programmes and internships 

Examples of graduate programmes advertised in recent years (some requiring Masters degree) have included: 

  • Sustainable Finance programme with EY
  • Sustainability and Climate Change Consulting with PWC
  • Carbon Management programme with Mott Macdonald

Graduate internships

Carbon Trust offers internships – likely to be most suitable for graduates as opportunities come up throughout the year.

Carbon Trust

Recruitment agencies and job sites 

LinkedIn – carbon management jobs

Acre (specialising in jobs in climate change, corporate social responsibility, clean technology and responsible investment)

EnvironmentJob   carbon, climate and energy jobs

Allen York 

Further learning 

To increase your awareness of issues relating to climate change see these University resources:  

Climate action resources (Department of Social Responsibility and Sustainability)