Living the Commuter’s Life as a Carbon Data Analyst Intern

Finding an internship related to my degree, Geography, and more specifically my interests in quantitative models, glaciology, and climate change is pretty tough! I would say impossible but luckily, I stumbled across a listing for an internship at CDP (the Carbon Disclosure Project). Never heard of them I hear you say? They are a NGO based in London, but have offices worldwide, who work with shareholders and companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions. The listing described the position very succinctly but what jumped out at me was the fact that the outcomes of the work the data team did would be packaged up and spread across the world to investors and relevant stakeholders so that they could make better informed decisions, whether that be promoting or investing in more environmentally friendly/conscious companies or identifying which companies are not pulling their weight in the battle against anthropogenic climate warming. This wasn’t a topic I had been physically involved in before but I knew right then that it was definitely something I wanted to be involved in; luckily, I was hired!

Waking up at 6am to jump the 7am train from Colchester to London every weekday was not my idea of fun, nor was discovering how horrific the tube is in rush hour, but it was totally worth it! A typical day would involve a team meeting with the data team, who were a group of really interesting and awesome guys, many hours of collecting and cleaning data, some vegan sour dough pizza from the market outside, and a few more hours developing bottom up models. I also got the opportunity to work on the general linear models that my colleague had created. I had some experience of coding with R in the past, but nothing on this scale. The shear amount of data that was going in and out of these models were incredible (data science geek, I apologise).  I did a lot of data cleaning for these models, which may sound boring but I really enjoyed the task, especially working with companies in the high emitting sectors. Working in the data team involved a lot of getting your head down in the midst of models, running scripts, reading corporate sustainability responsibility reports, trying to get Excel to be clever and save you boring work… but it was always nice to take a step back and think about what you’re doing in the grand scheme of things, and talking to people working in the other departments to see how everything fitted together. Everyone there had the same mindset about climate change and it was nice to work alongside so many likeminded individuals.

Now I’m coming up to half way through the last year of my degree and trying to decide where to go next. This internship meant a lot to me not only in the skills I developed but also the people I met, the experiences I had in the industry, and is now also my dissertation topic, in addition to acting as another one of the reasons why I’m interested in going into environmental modelling in the future. To add to all this I found out last week that the data team at CDP have published the methodology reports on their site for the 2016 Clean & Complete Dataset, and I am a co-author on one of the annexes, and a contributor to the other two, which is crazy and an awesome thing to able to say I’ve achieved and contributed to! I enjoyed working at CDP a lot and I’m ecstatic to have had the opportunity to work alongside some fantastic minds in the data team. So, if you’re looking for an internship at the moment don’t stress, keep looking, and I hope a good opportunity pops up for you.

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