Research Opportunities

The Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE), Berkeley Law environmental and energy law faculty, and other members of the Berkeley environmental community frequently recruit graduate students to assist with ongoing research.  Research can often be done for pay (GSRs), for academic credit (297 or 298), or as pro bono hours.  

Please contact us if you have a particular research interest.  Open positions will be posted here periodically, including details about the type of research involved and the application process.


— Fall 2021: Open Positions —


CLEE Student Liaison

Jordan Diamond

CLEE is seeking a law student to serve as Student Liaison.  This position involves drafting and posting CLEE’s weekly newsletter for the E&E community, which includes listings of E&E program offerings and deadelines, on- and off-campus events, internship and job postings, and other opportunities.  The Student Liaison also provides a conduit for providing student input on program offerings and planning.  

Position is paid (4 hours per week) for the 2021-22 academic year.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis (resume and brief description of why you are interested in the position).  Please contact CLEE Executive Director Jordan Diamond if you have any questions or to apply.


ClimateBreak – Assistant Producer

Ethan Elkind

CLEE is seeking to hire Journalism School students to help produce a UC Berkeley-based radio show and podcast for a climate change solutions radio program, podcast, and website called Climate Break. The program (which features 90-second radio spots on climate solutions twice a week) is in start-up mode. Students can participate in all aspects of program and podcast development and production, including topic selection and scriptwriting. Audio editing experience preferred but not required.

This position is paid.

Between 4-6 hours a week

To apply, send a resume and a brief cover letter to CLEE Climate Program Director Ethan Elkind at elkind@berkeley.edu.


Comparing Environmental Decisions of Trump-appointed Judges

Ken Alex

CLEE is seeking a law student to help review environmental decisions by federal district and circuit court judges and to compare decisions of Trump-appointed judges with others.

The application deadline is April 23, 2021.

Position can be for credit (1 unit) or pay (4-6 hours per week) for the fall semester.

Please contact Ken Alex if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply by April 16 (include a resume, unofficial transcript, and brief description of why you are interested in the position).


CCCI Research Assistant

Fan Dai

The California-China Climate Institute is looking to hire multiple research assistants for policy research on the following topics:

  • Carbon Neutrality Pathways and Long-term goal-setting
  • Low-carbon transportation and zero emission vehicles
  • Carbon pricing
  • Nature Based Climate Solutions
  • Carbon capture and storage
  • Energy Efficiency and Air Quality Co-Benefits and
  • ​Climate adaptation and resilience.

The position will involve 4-8 hours of work per week. Students can receive 297 credit (1 credit for every 4 hours/week of work) or pay. Prior experience or coursework in environmental law and/or climate policy and interest in US-China relations is strongly preferred, but not required. Mandarin speakers are encouraged to apply.

Please contact Jenn Perron at jperron@berkeley.edu if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, writing sample, and a brief statement of interest).


CLEE Research Associate

(Supervisor TBD)

CLEE is hiring a cohort of three Graduate Student Researchers to conduct law and policy research for center initiatives in Fall 2021.  Focus areas may include climate, water, oceans, and/or land use, and tasks may include drafting report sections, conducting background analysis, writing concept papers, or other.  We will incorporate researcher preferences and finalize specific projects and assignments in August, allowing researchers to work for the entirety of the fall semester.  The application deadline is April 23, 2021.  

Position can be for credit (1 unit) or pay (4 hours per week) for the fall semester.

Please contact CLEE Executive Director Jordan Diamond if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply by April 23 (include a resume, unofficial transcript, and brief description of why you are interested in the position).


Promoting Environmental Justice & Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger, LLP

Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger, LLP, a San Francisco law firm representing community groups and public agencies in environmental, land use, and municipal law matters, funds one semester-long, student-led research project each academic year. To qualify, the project must investigate existing or cutting edge legal or policy tools at the California local/regional level aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Preference will be given to proposals that simultaneously address the promotion of environmental justice in disproportionally impacted communities. The application must propose a final work product, which may include a white paper, detailed research summary, and/or presentation accompanied by written materials.  The application deadline is April 23, 2021. 

Position is paid (4 hours per week) for the fall semester. 

Please contact CLEE Executive Director Jordan Diamond if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief description of proposed project).


Administrative, Environmental, and Energy Law

Eric Biber

Professor Eric Biber is looking to hire research assistants for spring of 2021. RAs can work on a range of projects in administrative, environmental, and energy law, including but not limited to: (1) policy responses to fire risks on public and private lands in California and the West; (2) a survey and analysis of the California Endangered Species Act and how to reform it to make it more effective; (3) research on whether competition among states for business adversely affects state environmental laws and enforcement; (4) designing environmental laws and regulations to make them resilient to changes in political outcomes; (5) research on local and state land-use regulation in California and its impacts on housing production and costs; (6) research on the environmental regulations being developed by California for the state’s newly legalized marijuana industry; and (7) research on the optimal sequencing of climate policy to facilitate aggressive and resilient policy responses to climate change . RAs will have some choice as to which projects they will work on. 

RAs can work for credit (as a 297 class). Commitments are expected to be between 5-10 hours/week. Students can receive 297 credit (1 credit for every 4 hours/week of work). Prior experience or coursework in environmental law is preferred, but not required. 

Please contact Professor Eric Biber if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).

 


— Closed Positions —


California Climate Research

Fan Dai

The California-China Climate Institute is looking to hire three research assistants for fall 2020 for policy research on the following topics:

  • California’s 2045 Carbon Neutral Goal and Policies
  • Low-carbon transportation and zero emission vehicles
  • Carbon pricing
  • Climate adaptation and resilience
  • Sustainable land use and climate-smart agriculture
  • Carbon capture and storage

The position will involve 4-8 hours of work per week. Students can receive 297 credit (1 credit for every 4 hours/week of work) or pay. Prior experience or coursework in environmental law and/or policy is preferred, but not required.

Please contact California-China Climate Institute Director Fan Dai if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).


Extending Transfer Development Rights to Environmental Enhancement

Ken Alex

Traditional transfer development rights allow the transfer of the right to develop on land that a jurisdiction wants to retain as undeveloped to a different location in the form of a development bonus (for a fee). How can we best extend this concept to create credits for landowners who affirmatively enhance the environmental benefits of their land that can be transferred to infill developers who would receive development bonuses? We are working with the City of San Jose to create such a system. It raises some legal issues that I want to explore.

Research can be completed for pay (GSR) or for 297 credit (1 credit = 4 hrs/wk).

Please contact CLEE Project Climate Director Ken Alex if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).


Making and Using Disaster and Emergency Declarations

Dan Farber and Jordan Diamond

Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of storms, altering drought and flood patterns, causing rising seas, and increasing risks of infectious diseases, among other things. Although we can’t say when they will occur, models and forecasts show us that disasters and emergencies are becoming increasingly common. The legal framework for declaring to disasters, however, is based on outdated context, and the confines of what authorities are then unlocked is often unclear. We are looking for research assistants to help us review past declarations of disasters and emergencies, at both the federal and state level, and analyze their context and effect.

Position is paid, and would involve 4-8 hours per week. 

Please contact Jordan Diamond if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).

 


Reversing Trump Rollbacks

Ken Alex

We are evaluating strategies to rescind Trump’s environmental rollbacks. We will be looking in some detail at some that may be more difficult to rescind and evaluating the implications of different approaches.

Research can be completed for pay (GSR) or for 297 credit (1 credit = 4 hrs/wk).

Please contact Ken Alex if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).


Digital Economy & the Environment

Jordan Diamond

The rapid adoption and acceleration of the use of digital technologies is transforming the way we access and process information and live our daily lives, impacting the global economy and our social dynamics. These dramatic technological and social changes also have important environmental and energy implications. This initiative focuses on stimulating technical and policy research focused on ensuring maximum environmental and social benefit and minimal harm (e.g., increasing environmental footprint, algorithmic bias, etc) in conjunction with these new platforms. This fall, the GSR will focus on identifying and analyzing cutting-edge research and helping foment cross-disciplinary conversation and collaboration.

Students can receive 297 credit (1 credit for every 4 hours/week of work), or pay.

Please contact Jordan Diamond if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).


Offshore Wind

Jordan Diamond

CLEE’s Ocean Program is working to ensure the nascent California offshore wind industry is sustainable and equitable. The industry is still being proposed and is not yet entrenched, providing an opportunity to implement holistic and inclusive planning processes. We are looking for a student to assist with a convening, stakeholder survey, and summary report that discusses the key opportunities, concerns, and challenges associated with offshore wind in California.

Students can receive 297 credit (1 credit for every 4 hours/week of work), or pay.

Please contact Jordan Diamond if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).


ClimateBreak – Business Plan Development

Ethan Elkind

CLEE is seeking to hire a Business School grad student to help design a marketing plan for a UC Berkeley-based climate change solutions radio program, podcast, and website called Climate Break.  The program (which features 90 second radio spots on climate solutions twice a week) is in start-up mode.  We need help developing a plan for outreach and marketing to radio stations, on social media, in podcast format, and for the website, as well as to market to UC Berkeley students.

The position will be about six hours a week, and is available for pay.

Please contact Ethan Elkind if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).


ClimateBreak – Climate Solutions Legal Research

Ethan Elkind

CLEE is seeking to hire a law student to help develop content for a UC Berkeley-based climate change solutions radio program, podcast, and website called Climate Break.  The program (which features 90 second radio spots on climate solutions twice a week) is in start-up mode. We need substantive content and research on climate solutions and some legal research for climate solutions that are legal in nature or face legal challenge (for example, using Clean Air Act section 115 to set emission standards). 

Students can receive 297 credit (1 credit for every 4 hours/week of work), or pay.

Please contact Ethan Elkind if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).


Law 298 Group Project
Environmental Justice and COVID-19: Addressing Disproportionate Risks and Impacts in a Changing Climate

Ted Lamm and Nell Green Nylen

The COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting environmentally and socio-economically disadvantaged communities.  But the broader connections between COVID-19 and environmental justice are only just emerging.  These connections—spanning public health, employment, education, housing, transportation, and the structure of urban spaces—are revealing critical policy needs in a changed (and changing) world.  At the same time, our experience with COVID-19 is highlighting the extent to which climate change will exacerbate existing vulnerabilities to pandemics and the need for resilience and adaptation frameworks that proactively address inequities.

Students in this group project will research these connections and their associated policy implications.  Law, policy, and public health students will work collaboratively to prepare a suite of analyses of high priority law, policy, and information needs at the intersection of environmental justice, environmental health, and COVID-19.  Anticipated student work product may include recommendations for cross-cutting legislation to address the multiple crises; proposals for regulatory actions to better integrate environmental justice and environmental health needs in long-term planning; plans for dynamic mapping and data analysis resources to support future policy development; and/or proposals for increasing resilience to future climate-linked pandemics.

Credits: 1 unit
Meeting times: Mondays 4 – 5 PM

Please contact Ted Lamm and Nell Green Nylen if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, writing sample of your choice, and a brief statement of interest).