There are numerous careers which will impact on the global climate in the coming years. As countries look to address climate change while emerging from the coronavirus pandemic, the green recovery will bring opportunities for people no matter their skillset, background or training.
Technology and engineering
Technology is going to play an important role in both reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and capturing carbon already in the atmosphere, to help reverse the trend of climate heating. There is need for further development of renewable energy technologies, to enable more efficient generation of energy, and also to bring about the commercialisation of technologies which have not yet become mainstream, such as hydrogen fuel cells.
As well as working in renewables, talented engineers will also play a role in the roll-out of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies. These have the potential to allow sites to achieve carbon negative emissions. For example, an AD plant using waste to produce green gas can use CCS to capture the CO2 released in the digestion process.
As alternative green technologies and solutions to climate change are commercialised, there will be increasing demand for professionals with the experience of supporting their development. With any emerging technology, challenges will crop up during the journey from design phase through to a new development project becoming fully operational. Having the right wider team who understand a given sector is key to a smooth journey. For example, environmental consultants can ensure a project is designed with environmental compliance and risk reduction in mind, which can avoid running into problems when it comes to achieving permission to build. This also applies to other professions, legal advisors and finance providers who understand climate change and the renewable and CCS sectors will be better placed to support projects.
The success of the roll-out of renewable energy technologies and CCS projects will depend on the wider policy environment that engineers, developers and consultants operate within. Ultimately, the projects which provide solutions to climate change must also be the most profitable option. This can be achieved through push-pull factors. Green solutions can be incentivised, for example an AD plant producing green gas from waste materials can receive money from the government for the gas produced. Likewise, mechanisms such as carbon tax can push people away from the options which contribution of emissions, levelling the playing field by making renewable options more competitive.
People working this area will be able to shape the future through development of policies that will support transition to a greener society.
Education and communication
The need for the public to be informed on climate issues has never been greater. Governments will take the actions which allow them to be re-elected, so resolving climate change must be front of mind for most voters. Good communicators will be essential to ensure wide scale awareness among the public.
Teachers in primary and secondary schools can make a real difference, simply by ensuring the young people they teach leave their classroom with a proper understanding of climate change and the solutions available.
Within businesses, there is need for good communicators to drive forwards climate messaging. If a company is doing something that will benefit the climate, the people in the marketing team need to effectively communicate that to customers, potential customers and other stakeholders. By doing this, climate conscious decision makers will have the information they need to choose the product or service in line with their intention to benefit the planet.
Making a difference
In summary, engineers, technical specialists, lawyers, environmental consultants, finance experts, policy makers, educators and marketeers will all play their part in supporting the green transition. For climate concerned students who want to make a difference as they embark on their careers, there will be a breadth of opportunities available, no matter what they have studied.
To stay up to date with opportunities in climate change reduction connect with Privilege Finance on LinkedIn.