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Research Assistants

Carbon Offsets & Carbon Capture and Storage

The Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, a joint undertaking between the School of the Environment and Yale Law School, advances sustainability policy, governance and research with data-driven analyses. As a leading initiative in evidence-based policymaking, the Center’s work promotes applying science and regulation to enhance the resilience and impact of sustainability policies in countries around the world. The Center seeks Tobin Research Fellows with a passion for applying their economics expertise to resolve outstanding environmental issues. Tobin Fellows will work closely with the Center’s faculty director, Dr. Rob Klee, the Center’s Associate Director, Meghan Kircher, and PhD Candidate Alyssa Menz.

Tobin Fellows will have the opportunity to work on a project on carbon offsets and carbon capture and storage (CCS). Although far-reaching greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions are possible and imminently required, it is widely recognized that some companies do not have the ability to immediately eliminate their entire GHG emissions footprint. This is particularly true for companies in difficult-to-decarbonize industries. In the meantime, many actors are relying on carbon offsets and/or carbon capture and storage technologies to compensate for unabated emissions. Yet, poor quality offsets, inadequate oversight, highly fragmented and unregulated voluntary carbon markets, improper carbon accounting, negative unintended impacts on humans or ecosystems, and re-release of stored carbon are a few of the well-known risks associated with existing “neutralization” efforts. As a result, there is significant confusion and lack of clarity regarding offset effectiveness.

This project plans to address the knowledge gap by mapping the carbon offset and carbon capture and storage landscape, highlighting (among other things): common pitfalls, best practices, verification mechanisms and standards, monitoring and reporting, and existing corporate alliances and/or industry bodies that are supporting the carbon offset market. The goal is to gain a deeper understanding of how to effectively integrate carbon offsets and carbon capture and storage into businesses' net-zero strategies.

Depending on the Tobin Fellow’s interests and background, possible research tasks include:

  • Conducting qualitative research on carbon credits and innovative carbon capture and storage technologies
  • Supporting the design and undertaking of a survey for corporate leaders
  • Conducting quantitative analysis on some of the existing carbon credit datasets;
  • Performing literature reviews and writing memos on issues relating to carbon offsets and carbon capture and storage (CCS); and
  • Assistance with other tasks to advance the Center’s research agenda.

Requisite Skills and Qualifications

Applicants should have excellent writing skills, strong organizational skills, attention to detail, and interests in sustainable finance or sustainable economic development and in data-driven environmental policy. These positions require flexibility to rapidly research and produce written deliverables in support of the Center’s research agenda. Successful applicants will work well independently and within larger research groups.