Climate Change Planner

Climate change planners are crucial for tackling climate change challenges. They help governments, businesses, and communities enact effective climate strategies, focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fostering sustainable development. As key connectors between environmental science and policy, climate change planners drive meaningful climate adaptation and mitigation actions.

At a Glance

Imagine you are a green infrastructure planner at an environmental NGO dedicated to coastal fish habitat restoration. Your current project, set in a coastal town, aims to balance economic growth with environmental conservation, a challenge that resonates deeply with the local community.

It is early morning, and you're preparing for a meeting with external partners, including marine biologists, local business leaders, and government officials. The goal? To launch a public awareness campaign that highlights the importance of restoring the coastal fish habitats. These habitats, crucial for marine biodiversity, have been declining due to overfishing and pollution, impacting both the environment and the local economy that relies heavily on fishing and tourism.

Your role is pivotal. You spent weeks analyzing data on fish populations, assessing the environmental impacts, and exploring sustainable solutions. Now, armed with this knowledge and your expertise in sustainable planning, you're ready to present a plan that restores the fish habitat and ensures the community's economic stability.

The solution you propose involves constructing artificial reefs using environmentally friendly materials, creating safe breeding grounds for fish, and establishing no-fishing zones to allow the populations to rebound. Moreover, your plan includes educational programs for local schools and engaging fishing businesses in sustainable practices, ensuring long-term community involvement and awareness.

As the meeting unfolds, you expertly navigate through concerns, emphasizing the project's dual benefits: reviving the marine ecosystem and boosting local tourism and fishing industries. Your ability to translate complex environmental data into a compelling, actionable plan is well received, marking a significant step towards a sustainable future for the community. This project isn't just about restoring a habitat; it is about weaving the fabric of environmental responsibility into the town's identity.

Job Duties

Job duties vary from one position to the next, but in general, climate change planners are involved in the following activities:

  • Analyze climate data to assess impacts on agriculture, urban development, and public health, informing decision-making and strategy development.
  • Develop strategies reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting renewable energy sources, emphasizing energy efficiency and sustainable practices.
  • Collaborate with government, NGOs, and private sectors to integrate climate considerations into public policies, focusing on urban planning, transportation, and energy.
  • Lead projects to enhance community resilience to climate change effects, managing resources and implementation for resilient infrastructure.
  • Organize public awareness campaigns to increase understanding of climate change impacts and sustainable practices, using various media platforms.
  • Guide policymakers on environmental legislation, ensuring national and international law compliance.
  • Stay updated on climate science and technology developments, informing strategies and policies.
  • Evaluate projects' environmental, social, and economic impacts, offering recommendations for sustainability.
  • Develop systems to monitor and evaluate the usefulness of climate change initiatives, reporting outcomes to stakeholders.
  • Engage stakeholders to foster collaboration and support for climate change solutions.

Work Environment

Climate change planners operate within the office and field. In each of these settings, individuals in this occupation carry out various duties.

The office:

  • Using specialized software and tools, research and analyze climate data, including temperature trends, precipitation patterns and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Develop and update climate change vulnerability assessments and adaptation plans for communities, businesses and government agencies.
  • Coordinate meetings, workshops and stakeholder engagement sessions to gather input and feedback on climate action plans and policies.
  • Prepare reports, presentations, and briefing materials on climate change impacts, mitigation strategies, and adaptation measures for internal and external stakeholders.
  • Monitor and track progress on climate action initiatives, including tracking greenhouse gas emissions reductions and evaluating the effectiveness of adaptation measures.
  • Collaborate with interdisciplinary teams, including scientists, engineers, planners and policymakers, to integrate climate considerations into various projects and initiatives.

The field:

  • Conduct site visits and field assessments to evaluate the vulnerability of communities and infrastructure to climate change impacts, such as flooding, extreme heat and rising sea levels.
  • Engage with local stakeholders, including community leaders, residents and businesses, to understand their climate-related concerns and priorities.
  • Participate in community outreach events, workshops and public forums to raise awareness about climate change and gather input for adaptation planning.
  • Assess the effectiveness of green infrastructure projects, such as rain gardens and permeable pavement, in mitigating climate-related risks and enhancing community resilience.
  • Collaborate with local government agencies and non-profit organizations to implement climate resilience projects, such as coastal restoration and urban forestry initiatives.
  • Provide technical assistance and training to local officials and community organizations on climate adaptation strategies, including land use planning, zoning regulations, and building codes.

Where to Work

Climate change planners are employed in various settings, encompassing government agencies, intergovernmental organizations, corporate departments, and advocacy groups, such as:

  • Municipal or regional government planning departments
  • Government and intergovernmental bodies
  • Environmental non-governmental organizations
  • Sustainable development departments in large corporations
  • Environmental consultancy firms
  • Research institutions and universities
  • International environmental think tanks
  • Climate action advocacy groups

Search for jobs on the ECO Canada Job Board.

Education and Skills


If you are considering a career as a climate change planner, you should have a keen interest in:

  • Environmental science and sustainability
  • Policy development and advocacy
  • Data analysis and research methodologies
  • Community engagement and education
  • Innovative solutions to address climate change issues

If you are a post-secondary student considering a career as a climate change planner, the following programs are most applicable:

  • Environmental science and studies
  • Urban and regional planning focusing on sustainability
  • Climate change and sustainability policy
  • Environmental engineering
  • Human geography focusing on environmental management

An undergraduate degree is often the minimum education required to work as a climate change planner. Advanced education, a master's or doctoral degree, enhances expertise and effectiveness, providing the necessary tools to address climate change complexities, devise detailed adaptation and mitigation plans, and lead sustainability efforts. Applicable post-graduate degree programs include:

  • Climate change and sustainability
  • Urban and regional planning with a concentration in environmental planning
  • Public policy with a specialization in environmental policy
  • Environmental science and management
  • Renewable energy and sustainability systems

While certification is not mandatory to work as a climate change planner, it is recommended as it validates skills and credibility in their specialized work area.

Our Environmental Professional (EP) designation can also help you progress in your chosen environmental career.


Technical Skills

  • Climate modeling and analysis
  • Geographic information systems
  • Statistical analysis and data interpretation
  • Sustainability auditing
  • Policy analysis and development
  • Renewable energy systems
  • Urban and regional planning
  • Stakeholder analysis and engagement
  • Project management

Personal and Professional Skills

  • Analytical thinking
  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving abilities
  • Adaptability
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Leadership
  • Empathy and cultural sensitivity
  • Resilience and perseverance
  • Strategic planning
  • Negotiation skills

Environmental employers look for professionals who can combine technical knowledge with soft skills. Watch our free webinar Essential Not Optional: Skills Needed to Succeed in Canada’s Environmental Industry or take our Essential Skills courses.

Role Models

Your Impact

A climate change planner is a pivotal figure in the environmental sector, primarily focusing on mitigating the adverse effects of climate change. This occupation significantly impacts the environment by developing strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As an environmental role, the climate change planner bridges the gap between scientific research on climate change and practical policy implementation. They work on creating sustainable development plans that align with environmental conservation goals, making this role essential in combating climate change.

The sustainability impact of this role is profound, as it involves promoting renewable energy sources, advocating for energy-efficient practices and encouraging sustainable urban and rural development. Climate change planners contribute to creating green jobs and fostering industries that prioritize environmental health, driving economic growth that is both sustainable and responsible.

Socially, their work is crucial in raising awareness about the importance of environmental stewardship and influencing public policy to reflect environmental concerns. They also address social equity issues by ensuring that climate change solutions are inclusive and accessible to all communities. Climate change planners are vital in steering society towards a more sustainable, environmentally conscious, and equitable future.


Occupational Classification

Climate change planners can be classified into the following occupational groupings:

NOC Code:  21202 – Urban and land use planners

NOC Code:  41400 – Natural and applied science policy researchers, consultants and program officers

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) provides a standardized language for describing the work performed by Canadians in the labour market. It gives statisticians, labour market analysts, career counsellors, employers, and individual job seekers a consistent way to collect data and describe and understand the nature of work within different occupations.


ECO Canada Logo

Site en cours de développement

Nous travaillons actuellement sur la version française du site que nous espérons lancer très bientôt!

Merci pour votre patience et compréhension pendant que nous finalisons la version améliorée du site.

Website in Development

We are working to launch the French site very soon!

Thank you for your patience while we finalize the new and improved version of our website.