Pandemic Message

COVID-19 Update: For updates on the current status of each opportunity, please contact the Advisor listed, or for courses, check the linked Class Roster page.


Terms and Dates:

  • Summer 2022


Kurt Fritjofson

Cornell Affiliations:

Atkinson Center

Off-campus partner:

Environmental Defense Fund


Opportunity Description

(Important: please see the Requirements tab of this posting to ensure that you submit all necessary application materials.)

Job Title:
Atkinson Intern, Climate Impacts of Petrochemicals
Program/Department: Energy Transitions Team

Job Description: EDF offers internships and fellowships for students and recent graduates in a variety of
programs and departments throughout the organization. The goal of our internship and fellowship program is to provide high-quality experiences (including relevant projects and opportunities for networking) that form the foundation for any individual who is serious about pursuing an environmental career.

Program/Department Overview: EDF’s Energy Transition Team works to bend the curve on global greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel production and use by 2030, cleanly and equitably. We will achieve this through a defined set of strategies targeted at 1) reducing emissions from fossil fuel production, delivery, and use, and 2) reducing demand for fossil fuels in power generation, transportation, buildings, and industry. Our approach is focused on seeking reforms in law, regulation, and/or business practice through a mix of strategic corporate partnerships, direct engagement with policymakers, and mobilizing investor and public sentiment in favor of change. In formulating and achieving our strategies, we work across multiple regions (China, Europe, India and the U.S.) and draw on cutting-edge science and rigorous economic analysis, and act on principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion to develop durable solutions.This internship will be part of “Energy and Industry Initiatives,” a new portfolio within the Energy Transition Team that focuses on a range of emerging issues and opportunities for accelerating the transition of polluting industries and sectors into the new clean-economy future.

Overall Function: EDF is developing a new workstream focused on understanding the climate and air quality impacts of petrochemicals production, both in the United States and China (two of the largest producing nations in the world). The Atkinson Intern with will provide a high-level of research,analysis, content development and project management in support of this workstream. Specifically, the Intern will conduct a preliminary landscape assessment of the Chinese petrochemical sector, including top companies, products, feedstocks (e.g., “coal to methanol” and hydrogen-based); market trends and forecasts; the policy landscape; and the diverse impacts and opportunities from a climate, environmental, economic, and human wellbeing perspective. Throughout this project, the Intern will consult and collaborate with scientists and other experts from across EDF, including form the EDF China team in Beijing. Given the emerging nature of this new project, the Intern will have the opportunity to co-create their work plan to best support their own interests and EDF’s needs.

Key Responsibilities:
Tasks will include but are not limited to:

  • Conducting research on market trends, the policy landscape and a range of technical and social issues related to petrochemicals. This will include conducting formal literature reviews using scholarly databases, as well as market research from industry data sources.
  • Investigate and categorize the major facility types, feedstocks and products, based on market size and potential climate, environmental and public health impacts.
  • Investigate and categorize the technologies, practices and alternatives that present opportunities to reduce these impacts.
  • Identify key academic researchers, both in and outside China, who are important thought leaders and potential research partners.
  • Analyzing relevant datasets, where available, to derive additional insights.
  • Developing written and visual content for multiple purposes (presentations, reports, etc.)
  • Presenting research results internally and to partner organizations.
  • Drafting recommendations to inform EDF’s decision-making and strategy development.
  • Participating in advancing EDF’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice goals in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected, included, and empowered to address the environmental challenges in alignment with EDF values.

Final workplan to be developed based on the Intern’s interests, background and career aspirations.