[FILLED] Supporting a Regional Climate Planning Effort and Clean, Healthy Homes for the Bay Area

Host: Bay Area Air Quality Management District
Openings: 1
Project Focus: Affordable Housing, Climate Adaptation (e.g.,sea level rise planning, environmental justice, climate migration planning), Climate Mitigation, Energy Efficiency, Public Health, Urban Planning, Waste Management
Skills Needed: Project Management, Research, Environmental Justice, Stakeholder Engagement,

Remote or On-Site Placement

Hybrid – The Climate Protection team at the Air District works a hybrid schedule so the Fellow has the option to work from home part-time. The Fellow will need to be available during normal working hours and come into the office at least once a week for check-ins with the Supervisor or staff sector leads. Key stakeholder meetings may require in-person attendance.

Service Needs & Plans

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District) is a regional air pollution control agency focused on protecting public health, air quality, and the global climate for all residents in the nine Bay Area counties. The Climate Protection Team at the Air District is leading – with regional agencies, counties, and cities – development of a regional climate action plan focused on the transition to a more equitable, resilient, and zero carbon future for all Bay Area residents, funded by the EPA’s Climate Pollution Reduction Grant Program. The Fellow will play a key role in supporting plan development, working closely with sector leads and identifying key mitigation-adaptation opportunities and benefits to frontline communities in measure development. The team also leads a Clean Buildings program that spans several innovative efforts, including the Bay Area Healthy Homes Initiative (BAHHI) and the Building Appliance Rule Implementation Working Group (IWG). The Fellow will help shape how the team continues to engage in the transition to clean, healthy, and zero emissions buildings over the next few years to advance the Air District’ mission and prioritize the needs of frontline communities regarding clean, healthy, secure, and affordable housing.

Project Description

The Fellow will participate in two projects. The first is focused on the Comprehensive Climate Action Plan (CCAP), which will identify measures and strategies across all sectors of the economy and sinks to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030 and 2045, in a way that prioritizes the needs expressed by the region’s frontline communities. The Air District will complete and submit the CCAP to the USEPA in September 2025. (The Air District also developed a Priority Climate Action Plan, which was due to USEPA by March 1, 2024.) The Fellow will play a key role by supporting development of the CCAP by working closely with staff leads to develop measures and supporting analyses, identifying key areas of synergy for climate mitigation and adaptation in measure development, helping engage local governments to identify key barriers to local climate action that can be addressed through regional measures, and thinking through measure design to benefit frontline communities. This will involve research and analysis, writing, and participation in partner meetings and engagement efforts that will result in memos, presentations, and ultimately the CCAP report. The Fellow will help increase the capacity of local governments’ climate efforts through the collaborative shaping of these regional measures.

In addition, the Fellow will research the existing landscape of clean and healthy building-related efforts in the region and California more broadly, and develop recommendations to the Climate Protection team at the Air District regarding how it might continue engaging in the buildings space over the next few years – beyond its current regulatory efforts – to advance the goals of the agency and prioritize the needs of frontline communities regarding clean, healthy, secure, and affordable housing. The Fellow would also investigate potential funding sources and partnerships for this work and participate in key partner and coalition meetings. The Air District’s Clean Buildings Program includes several critical clean building-related efforts, including the Bay Area Healthy Homes Initiative (BAHHI) and the Building Appliance Rule Implementation Working Group (IWG), which are complementary to the Priority Climate Action Plan and Comprehensive Climate Action Plan building sector measures. The BAHHI program seeks to bring a healthy, efficient and climate resilient home for asthma patients and residents of overburdened communities most impacted traffic air pollution by providing in-home asthma services and home retrofits. The Building Appliance Rule IWG is advancing the equitable implementation of the Air District’s zero-NOx emissions standards for space and water heaters found in residential and commercial buildings (Air District Regulation 9, Rules 4 and 6). Potential outcomes could include memos or a report, or visualizations using GIS or StoryMap. Through this research, the Fellow will help determine avenues and resources to increase capacity of the Clean Buildings Program over the coming years.

Desired Skills

The ideal Fellow will have many of the following skills and traits:

– Interest in helping regional agencies and local governments advance equitable climate action and passionate about climate equity

– Self-starter who is motivated, organized, and detail-oriented with a strong work ethic

– Experience successfully leading a project or team

– Ability to work independently and in a team

– Strong research and critical thinking skills

– Good verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to synthesize information into clear recommendations and readily digestible documents and presentations

– Knowledge of (or a desire to learn about) climate policy and/or air policy and familiarity with local climate action and planning and/or clean buildings

– Knowledge of (and preferably expertise in) equity and environmental justice, including how it relates to climate action

– Experience and comfort in working and speaking with different types of stakeholders

– Experience using GIS (preferred but not required)

Organization & Workplace Highlights

Our Division’s workplace culture and environment is collaborative (team-based), supportive, and innovative. We seek to learn from leaders in the climate and air quality space and strategically integrate new approaches into our work to enhance our support of local governments and communities. Our division and the Air District as a whole are committed to furthering diversity, equity, and inclusion internally and equity and racial justice in communities across the Bay Area. The Air District has a formal Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and actively integrates DEI principles and practices into our work, including providing speakers and growth opportunities for staff. Air District staff also work collaboratively with Bay Area community members, community groups, and other key stakeholders to plan and implement the statewide AB 617 program, focused on reducing exposure to air pollutants in overburdened communities. Meaningful community engagement is an important aspect of the USEPA-funded regional climate action planning effort. A Community Advisory Committee helps inform the Air District’s work and the James Cary Smith Grant Program awards grants to projects that fund strategies to leverage the power of community members to fully participate in decisions that impact their environment and health.

By serving at the Air District, the Fellow will gain firsthand experience in a public agency and insight into regional and local governance approaches for climate action. They will also learn from staff who are working collaboratively with communities and local governments to advance equitable action on clean air and climate protection, which will help illuminate opportunities and challenges for this work. The Fellow will hone their project management, facilitation, and leadership skills as lead for their project. They will also have the opportunity to expand their professional network to include regional and local government staff, non-profit and community-based organization staff, academics, and others.

Community Highlights

The Bay Area region is home to a vibrant and strong network of communities and organizations advancing climate equity. It is also one of the most diverse regions in the nation. Fifty-nine percent of residents are people of color, including many different racial and ethnic groups. The region is home to speakers of more than 160 languages, nearly half (43%) of which speak a language other than English at home. Equitable climate action is not a theoretical idea here but a goal for many jurisdictions and agencies who are setting the standard for what it means to shape an equitable and inclusive climate protective future. The region is at the leading edge of climate action in California and the nation. Over 80 jurisdictions have adopted local climate action plans – more than any other region in the U.S.

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