Senior Policy Advisor, Transportation, U.S. Climate Alliance

  • Washington, DC
  • Full Time
  • Employment Opportunity
  • Mid Level

Position Overview

The U.S. Climate Alliance was launched by the governors of California, New York, and Washington on June 1, 2017, in response to the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement on climate change. U.S. Climate Alliance states are committed to taking real, impactful, on-the-ground action that urgently addresses the climate challenge. In becoming an Alliance member, states commit to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius by:

Reducing collective net GHG emissions at least 26-28 percent by 2025 and 50-52 percent by 2030, both below 2005 levels, and collectively achieving overall net-zero GHG emissions as soon as practicable, and no later than 2050.

Accelerating new and existing policies to reduce GHG pollution, building resilience to the impacts of climate change, and promoting clean energy deployment at the state and federal level.

Centering equity, environmental justice, and a just economic transition in their efforts to achieve their climate goals and create high-quality jobs.

Tracking and reporting progress to the global community in appropriate settings, including when the world convenes to take stock of the Paris Agreement.

Since its launch, the Alliance has grown into a bipartisan coalition of 25 members: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Puerto Rico. The Alliance now represents over half the US population and roughly $11.7 trillion in economic activity – enough to be the world’s third largest economy. 

Through the Alliance, states work together to share expertise and information resources to help each accelerate the implementation of their climate priorities.  The Alliance also engages outside experts to provide additional analytical, research, and policy support as needed, most notably through a select group of strategic partners known as the U.S. Climate Alliance Impact Partnership.  For more information on the Alliance, please visit

The Senior Policy Advisor assists the US Climate Alliance Secretariat Executive Director in developing and executing strategy to support Alliance states meeting their climate priorities and working internationally to make progress toward the goals of the Paris Agreement.  The Senior Policy Advisor will focus on supporting Alliance states in the development and implementation of policies to reduce emissions substantially and equitably from transportation and mobility, with linkages to and engagement with broader energy sector work.  The Senior Policy Advisor will also be required to assume other duties as needed, including but not limited to project management, research, drafting policy papers, fundraising, and events management.

The Senior Policy Advisor leads the secretariat Transportation Working Group and reports to the Policy Director in support of Alliance states, and will be expected to work as part of a broader team that includes external partners.  The Senior Policy Advisor supports and responds to state-led initiatives and works with the Energy and Climate team at the United Nations Foundation, which houses the U.S. Climate Alliance Secretariat.

Ability to be based in Washington D.C. is highly preferred.

Essential Functions

Work hand-in-hand with state governments to support the adoption of clean transportation programs, policies, and regulations that lead to meaningful greenhouse gas emission reductions and equitable outcomes for overburdened communities. Help drive transportation decarbonization strategies across all Alliance states by:

  • Leading the development of near- and long-term strategies for accelerating transportation sector decarbonization across all states.
  • Developing policy briefs and conducting research and technical analysis, and organizing workshops to support the adoption of transportation sector emission reduction policies and regulations such as but not limited to:
    • Advanced Clean Car II standards
    • Advanced Clean Truck standards
    • Clean/Low-carbon Fuel standards
    • Zero-emission vehicle incentives
    • Sustainable land-use planning and mode shifting that support a reduction in vehicle miles traveled.
  • Convening and leading multi-state meetings, webinars, and workshops (virtual and in-person), facilitating the sharing of best practices and proven solutions, engaging with outside experts as needed, and supporting states in their efforts to identify and align transportation decarbonization strategies for maximum impact.
  • Identifying, cultivating, and enhancing constructive relationships with outside experts and organizations to provide technical, analytical, or policy assistance to states.
  • Track and analyze existing and new federal policies to help inform state responses to proposed legislation or regulations.

Support project-specific fundraising by:

  • Identifying interested donors and supporting fundraising.
  • Leading the development of relevant funding proposals, including the development of project proposal scope and budget.
  • Managing relevant grants, including monitoring, evaluation, budget spend-down, and reporting.

Support Alliance-wide initiatives by:

  • Contributing to and supporting day-to-day secretariat activities including collaboration with team members to develop resources, reports, memos, and tools to support member states.
  • Participating in secretariat and Alliance-wide meetings (virtual and in-person) and state consultations to inform secretariat and working group priorities.
  • Developing and maintaining strong relationships with state staff from Governor’s offices and executive agencies. Supporting the planning and implementation of high-impact events, including organizing meetings and guest lists, developing a work plan, and communicating information to relevant staff and teams.
  • Performing other duties as assigned, especially in the relationship management of external partnerships.


  • Maintaining working knowledge of the UNF agreement process (for both contracts and grants), and when to utilize the proper templates accordingly. (As applicable to the role)
  • Drafting and reviewing agreements and maintaining an understanding of all agreement terms and applicable flow-downs, consulting with UNF’s finance/contracts team as needed. (As applicable to the role)
  • Attending training sessions provided by UNF’s contracts team to maintain and keep up to date with UNF’s current policies and procedures. (As applicable to the role)
  • Maintaining strong knowledge of UNF’s Salesforce database to be able to process and track agreements, extract information and prepare reports. (As applicable to the role)
  • Other duties as assigned.

Selection Criteria

  • Master’s degree required.
  • 7-10 years of experience in climate policy, with significant experience working with governments or other political figures.
  • Substantial demonstrated expertise in developing and implementing transportation decarbonization policies, especially in a U.S. context.
  • Regulatory experience in the federal or a state government is strongly preferred.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of state politics and state climate policy, experience coordinating multi-state processes and decision making.
  • Possess strong analytical skills and excellent writing and presentation skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage projects, specifically oversight through the project lifecycle, including scope, budget, and delivery.
  • Thinks strategically in order to influence decision-makers and outcomes.
  • As part of a small team, maximum flexibility in accepting and professionally executing a range of tasks – everyone works on policy, everyone sometimes has to order the coffee.
  • Ability to learn new policy areas and quickly strengthen expertise to become sufficiently proficient to support sectoral working groups or develop policy papers in non-transportation sectors. Experience in events management
  • Demonstrated ability to prioritize multiple, competing priorities in a fast-paced environment within limited timeframes.
  • Diplomatic and able to work effectively with leaders across a range of government, private sector, academia, and non-profits.
  • Ability to work independently as well as a member of a team; and ability to take initiative.
  • Extreme personal discretion with sensitive information.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite to include Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Proficiency in or ability to learn Square Space, Word Press, or other website management software.
  • Demonstrated use of social media to effectively communicate climate policy.
  • Cheerful, friendly, enthusiastic, and dependable.
  • Personal commitment to advancing the climate and clean energy agenda in the United States and internationally.
  • Ability to work outside normal office hours during surges (e.g., in the lead up to major events) and respond quickly to urgent requests.
  • Ability to be based in Washington D.C. highly preferred

Benefits & Compensation 

For full-time, benefit eligible employees, UNF offers an excellent range of benefits, including:

  • a choice between two health plans through UnitedHealthcare (PPO or HDHP with HSA)
  • dental insurance
  • vision insurance
  • flexible spending accounts
  • 403b retirement savings plan with a generous matching contribution
  • group term and supplemental life insurance
  • short-term disability
  • long-term disability
  • health club discounts
  • commuter subsidy
  • back-up care
  • employee assistance program

Additionally, all benefit eligible employees have 12 paid holidays, 20 vacation days, 10 sick days, 3 personal days, and 8 weeks of family leave care.

The United Nations Foundation is proud to be an equal opportunity and affirmative-action employer. The United Nations Foundation provides equal employment opportunity to all employees and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.

This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

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