Manager, Agricultural Methane

Data Analysis & Technical Research Washington, DC, United States


Job Summary:

Methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas, traditionally has been overlooked. But that is changing. At COP26 in Glasgow, the United States and the European Union launched the “Global Methane Pledge” to cut methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030 relative to 2020 levels. While this is a very positive development, much of the attention to date has focused on achieving methane reductions in the oil and gas sector. Considerably less attention has been given to methane reductions from the agricultural sector. Yet agricultural production (e.g., cattle, dairy, rice) accounts for ~46% of global anthropogenic methane emissions, and emissions from organic material in landfills (much of which is food waste) contributes another 18%. We seek to change that lack of attention. Supporting those countries which made a Global Methane Pledge, WRI and partners will bridge solutions and policy to scale adoption of technologies and practices that would reduce methane from the food and agricultural system.

This position will lead WRI’s research efforts on agriculture methane reduction, providing the science and policy foundations for the four pillars of our strategy:

  1. Assess the technology/practice solutions (the “what”): Per source of food and agriculture-related methane emissions, this position will lead research to identify the suite of technologies and practices that could reduce emissions. For each of these technologies and practices, we will quantify the potential scale of emission reductions, assess barriers to adoption, estimate financial paybacks/ROI, and identify which are relevant for which country. For each technology and practice, we also will determine which “need more research and development (R&D)” and which “are ready for greater deployment”. This analysis would be global in scope but with national relevance.
  2. Make the case (the “why”): This position will lead on providing the foundations for making the case to governments, companies, and farmer organizations that reducing agriculture methane emissions is critical for achieving the Paris Agreement, improving food security and productivity, and enabling long-term agriculture sector competitiveness. Importantly, we will show that solutions exist—dispelling the view that “reducing agriculture methane is difficult” and to increase government commitment to tackling methane emissions from food and agricultural systems.
  3. Identify policies/incentives that drive adoption (the “how”): This position will lead on research to identify the set of policies and incentives (e.g., financial, regulatory, market) needed to drive adoption of the solutions. For those solutions that need more R&D, we will identify the policies, funding, and incentives that could stimulate the research and development required to get each technology and practice across the threshold of mainstream viability. For those existing solutions that require scaling, we will identify the policies and incentives that could trigger greater market penetration among farmers, ranchers, companies, and other relevant actors.
  4. Drive action in selected countries (the “where”): This position will support WRI offices in selected countries to apply the results of the above in a handful of countries that have committed to the Global Methane Pledge.

This position is remote due to Covid-19, but you will be based in Washington, DC once restrictions have been lifted.

Job Responsibilities:


Research and analysis (80%):

  • For each technology and practice that could reduce agricultural methane emissions, quantify the potential scale of emission reductions, assess barriers to adoption, estimate financial paybacks/ROI, and identify which are relevant for which country
  • Identify policies and incentives (e.g., financial, regulatory, market) needed to drive adoption of the technology and practice solutions. Among other things, identify the policies, funding, and incentives that could stimulate the research and development required to get each technology and practice across the threshold of mainstream viability. In addition, identify the policies and incentives that could trigger greater market penetration among farmers, ranchers, companies, and other relevant actors
  • Develop and communicate “the case” to governments, companies, and farmer organizations that reducing agriculture methane emissions is critical for achieving the Paris Agreement, improving food security and productivity, and enabling long-term agriculture sector competitiveness
  • As part of the above, perform literature reviews, expert interviews, and original research
  • For the above, collaborate with external partners (e.g., CCAC) and WRI colleagues as needed
  • Write and publish research results as WRI publications and/or in the peer-reviewed literature
  • Lead follow-on research on agriculture methane emissions reductions as needed and as the project evolves
  • Engage in internal and external knowledge product peer review processes

Strategy development and project development (10%):

  • Provide input and perspectives on the Food Program and Climate Program strategies
  • Assist in building a pipeline of opportunities for engagement
  • Maintain an understanding of evolving trends in the agriculture/climate research and policy arenas and adjust research strategies and priorities as necessary
  • Support development of concept notes and proposals for additional funding
  • Coordinate and provide inputs into funder reports, monitor timely deliverables, and provide other support as needed

Communications and outreach (10%):

  • Promote uptake of research through writing WRI blogs, hosting webinars, and more
  • Share perspectives and insights via public speaking engagements and media interviews
  • Review draft research written by peers, especially those in WRI’s Food, Forests, and Climate Programs   

Job Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in agricultural science or environmental science. PhD preferred
  • Minimum of 5 years of full-time work experience on issues relating to agriculture, with at least 2 years of relevant work conducting independent research, analysis and publications on related topics
  • Knowledge of agriculture methane issues (e.g., enteric methane, manure methane, rice methane)
  • Strong research/analytical skills, detail-oriented, and highly organized
  • Understanding of the Paris Agreement and UNFCCC processes
  • Extremely strong writing skills, including past experience publishing, and solid oral presentation skills
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively to multiple audiences, including academics, practitioners, business managers, and policymakers
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Ability to manage multiple priorities and work under pressure with tight deadlines. Flexible and capable of working with minimal direction and supervision
  • Commitment to WRI’s mission and values
  • US work authorization is required for this

Potential Salary:

$79,000 - $106,,000. Salary is commensurate with experience and other compensable factors.

How to Apply:

Please submit a resume with cover letter. Applicants must
apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered.

Program Overview:            

WRI’s Food Program works to advance solutions to ensure the world can nutritiously feed 10 billion people by 2050 while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, curbing deforestation and alleviating poverty. Our research has identified a menu of solutions to create a sustainable food future. We develop research, tools and partnerships to help countries, cities and businesses measure and reduce their food loss and waste. We analyze strategies to sustainably increase food production, such as by restoring degraded lands back into productivity, increasing pastureland yields, and improving land and water management. We advance methods to reduce food production’s impact on the environment (e.g., methane emissions). We help consumers shrink their climate footprints by shifting toward plant-rich foods. We monitor progress toward a sustainable food future in terms of land impacts, emissions, and public policies. And our work underpins and supports WRI’s role as secretariat of the Food and Land Use Coalition, a group of nine organizations and five country platforms working to pursue food systems reform at the national and global level. For more information about our work on the food/land/climate nexus, see our landmark report Creating a Sustainable Food Future, published along with the World Bank, UNEP, and UNDP. For a short overview of how we frame the global strategy, see Produce-Protect-Reduce-Restore.

WRI Overview:

World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity, and human well-being. We are working to address seven critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean.

We are passionate. We value our diversity of interests, skills, and backgrounds. We have a flexible work environment. And we share a common goal to catalyze change that will improve the lives of people. Our shared ideals are at the core of our approach. They include integrity, innovation, urgency, independence, and respect.

The foundation of our work is delivering high-quality research, data, maps, and analysis to solve the world’s greatest environment and international development challenges and improve people’s lives. We work with leaders in government, business, and civil society to drive ambitious action and create change on the ground. Equally important, we bring together partners to develop breakthrough ideas and scale-up solutions for far-reaching, enduring impact.

We have been growing rapidly: our staff has doubled in size over the past 5 years, and our operating budget is nearing $200 million. Founded in 1982, WRI has a global staff of over 1,600 people with work spanning 60 countries. We have offices in Africa, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Colombia and the United States, as well as a growing presence in other countries and regions.  

WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices.