As the need for climate change solutions continues to grow, so does the need for properly educated greenhouse gas management and measurement professionals. With the help of various media outlets most people understand and accept the most basic aspects of climate change – global temperatures are rising, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are extremely high and ever increasing, and action needs to be taken, on a personal level and at government and business levels. While it is a positive sign that the general population has this basic understanding, there is also a need for advanced education in greenhouse gas accounting and climate change mitigation. Universities and colleges are typically the first place one thinks of when they hear “advanced education”; unfortunately, these institutions alone do not currently provide education for the full spectrum of the climate change industry.
Many institutions offer basic courses in climate change and the relevance of climate change to other topics is frequently introduced. The challenge in a thorough professional training program is that climate change stretches across academic programs. It has important connections to various disciplines such as engineering, chemistry, biology, political science, business management, and more. Graduates are able to gain an understanding of climate change as it relates to their major area of focus, but not a comprehensive exposure to the full range of skill sets needed in the carbon market and greenhouse gas management industries.
Some people may be quite enthusiastic to learn about designing control systems which can be used in coal-fired power plants to monitor and control emissions. Others may wish to learn about the effects of climate change on international relations. Others may want to learn how to design more efficient solar panels. It is quite possible to gain extensive knowledge of these things at university. Other fields related to greenhouse gas management and carbon markets, however, have very little presence at academic institutions and the level of detailed knowledge that is required in the industry is simply not offered. There is a big difference between knowing that ISO 14064 exists and knowing that CO2 emissions from the combustion of biomass must be quantified separately from other direct CO2 sources.
Growing alongside the increasing demand for well-trained GHG professionals is the increasing need for professional level GHG education. To meet this need, institutions, such as the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute which ClimateCHECK cofounded, are now available online that instruct on the skills and tools related to GHG management and accounting through e-learning platforms using the familiar lesson/exercise/test format.
The most important thing to take from this is that further education in climate change is quite readily available – you just might not be able to find it all at a university or college. To become educated in fields that are seldom taught at academic institutions or to learn about how climate change affects fields other than your own, people must access other resources. Fortunately, these resources are becoming more diverse, readily available, and of higher quality. Universities and colleges are not the only place to learn – the greenhouse gas management and mitigation industry is growing so rapidly that other educational venues are essential for a complete and current education.