Job Opening: Mississippi River Delta and Natural Infrastructure Economist, EDF

11.13.2015 | In Economics, Uncategorized

EDF_tm_CMYK-logo-for-webPosition: Mississippi River Delta & Natural Infrastructure Economist (2-year Post-doctoral Position)
Location: Washington, DC (New York, NY or Boston, MA)

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.

Overall Function

The need for climate adaptation in coastal environments in the US (and around the world) and the development of resilient and protective systems in those same areas are increasing and in some cases already keenly felt. Much of this adaptation will require infrastructure, ranging from traditional flood barriers to natural infrastructure (dunes, floodways, wetlands, receiving basins, barrier islands, multiple use retention areas, etc.). This work is typically capital intensive and often expensive, and responsibility for design, construction, operations, maintenance and financing often split among various public authorities. Within the US, a fundamental need for efficient and available financing systems for this critical infrastructure work exists, as current US financing systems (federal and state appropriations, state funding and matches, long standing taxes and user-fee based systems) are not providing necessary resources or efficiency in delivering those resources. (This need is global, though our focus for this work is currently domestic.)

The Economist we are seeking would examine existing infrastructure finance systems, and work to develop new concepts, ideas and approaches for financing of coastal adaptation and resilience needs. We anticipate a primary focus on financing of natural infrastructure (i.e., natural defenses and ecological engineering) that lessen the potential impacts of sea level rise and storm damage on coastal communities. The approaches would include, but would not be limited to public finance (taxes, fees, community bonds, etc.), private (market and philanthropic), and ecosystems services. This analysis and these approaches are intended to help shape the organization’s policy positions and support its advocacy, and to help broaden the thinking and policy applications for financing these kinds of projects nationally. The Economist’s analysis will ideally include thought leading original publishable research with the potential to drive the development of this field, “in-house” analyses for use by other staff within the organization, as well as white papers aimed at policy makers, journalists, and the public at large.

The initial primary focus of the work within EDF will be on financing options around ongoing restoration and protection needs within the Mississippi River Delta (filling a significant gap in our work in the Delta) and then assessing ideas for broader applicability or utility to other coastal locations in the United States. The Mississippi River Delta is the site of the largest adaptation effort underway in the country today. More broadly within EDF, we would expect this area of work to be applicable to other Ecosystems Program activities, and could potentially support an ongoing collaboration between the Oceans and Ecosystems programs and the Office of the Chief Economist on coastal resiliency in the Northeastern United States.

The Economist can be based in Washington, DC; New York City, NY; Boston, MA; with a preference for Washington, DC. S/he will work closely with and under the guidance of EDF’s Chief Economist Frank Convery and work with other economists, natural scientists, and policy specialists throughout EDF. S/he will officially report to the Deputy Director, Water Programs. S/he may also have managerial responsibilities for more junior staff.

Key Responsibilities


Preferred Qualifications

Due to the volume of employment applications and queries received, EDF is unable to respond to each application individually. Applicants will be contacted directly if selected as a candidate.

Apply here.

Environmental Defense Fund is an Equal Opportunity Employer