What is a Career in GHG Anyway? Insights from Bill Palmer (GHG)

jennifer Bjorkman | May-02-11

What is a career in GHC Bill Palmer ECO Canada

By Chantel Sciore, Professional Services


Climate change, greenhouse gas—with the global trend of “going green”, these terms are common in the environment industry; however, since only 5 per cent of environmental professionals are employed in carbon and climate change mitigation, many may not be completely clear about what it means to work in greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting. 


How does a day in the life look for a GHG professional? What skills and education are needed to find a career? What is the current state of this Canadian sub-sector? Is it expected to grow?


To help answer these questions, ECO Canada interviewed Vice-President of Cheminfo Services Inc., Bill Palmer, EP(GHG).


Palmer describes the busy day of a GHG professional: “Site visit audits start with a good night’s sleep, a good breakfast, and a large cup of coffee because you have to be ‘on’ all day to maximize your time.”


A verification plan is followed, which outlines the key data and information that need to be verified. From there, Palmer says the day consists of many activities—meeting with the representatives of the responsible party, going through a facility tour, interviewing various staff, collecting data, and planning the tasks for the next day.


“On the final day, we meet with the facility [staff] to debrief on our site visit findings, and discuss any follow-up requirements, and it's not uncommon to decompress afterwards with a beer or two!”


Palmer says the most rewarding aspects of his job are “Working closely with my partners; seeing the variety of processes used to make the products and energy forms; and meeting many excellent environmental and operations people at these facilities, who all want to learn and improve and do the right thing.”


For professionals looking to start a career in GHG, Palmer suggests for new entrants to “do their homework in understanding verification standards such as ISO14064-3, technical guidance documents for GHG programs, quantification methodology protocols, different industrial processes, sources and sinks of GHGs, and fuels and their properties.”


He adds, “It also helps to have patience and attention to detail. Many of the discrepancies I have found have been due to simple patience in looking deep into calculations and data.”


Currently, Canada is a world leader at quantifying its GHG emissions at the national level, and has engaged industry to report its emissions and voluntary reduction actions.


Provincially, Alberta established the first climate change regulation in 2007, and a working system for projects generating offset credits, both of which require verification. British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec are partners in the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) to support the goal of a 15 per cent GHG reduction from 2005 to 2020.


In terms of growth, ECO Canada identified in its labour market report, Canadian Environmental Sector Trends 2010, that climate change and mitigation is one of the top expanding subsectors in Canada, and predicts a high worker demand in the future because of these key drivers:

  • Environmental policy and regulation
  • Financial and economic factors
  • Consumer demand
  • Environmental management practices


For more information on GHG emissions, Palmer suggests visiting the Environment Canada Climate Change or GHG Management Institute websites.


Want to be formally recognized for your GHG expertise? Become certified with ECO Canada’s EP(GHG)-Environmental Professional, Greenhouse Gas Reporting designation. ECO Canada is now offering an in training option, EPt(GHG), for those with five years of experience who have completed post-secondary education and specific GHG training, and are working, or would like to work in the field of GHG reporting. Find out more!