Biographies for Ken Caldeira

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Caldeira

Scientist

Researcher

 

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Ken Caldeira

Climate scientist

Senior scientist

Chemical oceanographer

 

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Ken Caldeira, Senior Scientist 

Ken Caldeira, Climate Scientist

 

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Ken Caldeira, Senior Scientist, Carnegie Institution for Science and Breakthrough Energy

 

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Ken Caldeira, Senior Scientist (emeritus) Carnegie Institution for Science.  Senior Scientist, Breakthrough Energy.

 

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Ken Caldeira, Senior Scientist (emeritus) Carnegie Institution for Science, Department of Global Ecology. Senior Scientist at Breakthrough Energy.

 

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Ken Caldeira is a Senior Scientist (emeritus) in Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology. He is also a Senior Scientist at Breakthrough Energy. He investigates issues related to climate, carbon, and energy systems. His primary tools are energy system models, integrated assessment models, and climate models.

 

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Ken Caldeira is a Senior Scientist (emeritus) in Carnegie Institution for Science's Department of Global Ecology. He is also a Senior Scientist at Breakthrough Energy, a non-profit organization aimed at "helping the world get to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions while making sure everyone has access to the clean, affordable, and reliable energy they need to thrive.”

 

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Ken Caldeira is a Senior Scientist (emeritus) in Carnegie Institution for Science's Department of Global Ecology. He is also a Senior Scientist at Breakthrough Energy, a non-profit organization aimed at "helping the world get to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions while making sure everyone has access to the clean, affordable, and reliable energy they need to thrive." Caldeira has a wide-spectrum approach to analyzing the world’s climate systems. He studies the global carbon cycle; marine biogeochemistry and chemical oceanography, including ocean acidification and the atmosphere/ocean carbon cycle; land-cover and climate change; the long-term evolution of climate and geochemical cycles; and energy technology. Caldeira received his B.A. from Rutgers College and both his M.S. (1988) and Ph.D. (1991) in atmospheric sciences from New York University.

 

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Ken Caldeira is a Senior Scientist (emeritus) in Carnegie Institution for Science's Department of Global Ecology. He is also a Senior Scientist at Breakthrough Energy, a non-profit organization aimed at "helping the world get to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions while making sure everyone has access to the clean, affordable, and reliable energy they need to thrive." Caldeira is a member of the committee producing the 2015 U.S. National Academy of Sciences report "Geoengineering Climate: Technical Evaluation and Discussion of Impacts". He is also a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR5 report Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. In 2010, he was a co-author of the 2010 US National Academy America's Climate Choices report and was elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He participated in the UK Royal Society geoengineering panel in 2009 and ocean acidification panel in 2005. Caldeira was coordinating lead author of the oceans chapter for the 2005 IPCC report on Carbon Capture and Storage.

 

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Ken Caldeira is a Senior Scientist (emeritus) in Carnegie Institution for Science's Department of Global Ecology. He is also a Senior Scientist at Breakthrough Energy, a non-profit organization aimed at "helping the world get to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions while making sure everyone has access to the clean, affordable, and reliable energy they need to thrive." Among Caldeira’s key contributions to science are his relatively early recognition of the threats posed by ocean acidification, his pioneering investigations into the environmental consequences of intentional intervention in the climate system (“geoengineering”), and the first peer-reviewed study to estimate near-zero-emission energy needs consistent with a 2°C climate stabilization target. He has also played a central role in helping to elucidate what our understanding of long-term geochemical cycles implies for the fate of today’s carbon dioxide emissions. Caldeira is a member of the committee producing the 2015 U.S. National Academy of Sciences report "Geoengineering Climate: Technical Evaluation and Discussion of Impacts". He is also a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR5 report Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. In 2010, he was a co-author of the 2010 US National Academy America's Climate Choices report and was elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He participated in the UK Royal Society geoengineering panel in 2009 and ocean acidification panel in 2005. Caldeira was coordinating lead author of the oceans chapter for the 2005 IPCC report on Carbon Capture and Storage.

 

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Ken currently holds the position of Senior Staff Scientist (emeritus) in the Carnegie Institution for Science Department of Global Ecology and Professor (by courtesy) in the Stanford University Department of Earth System Sciences. Ken maintains a research group in the Carnegie Institution for Science facilities on the Stanford University campus. This research group is engaged primarily in idealized energy system and energy-climate-economic modeling.

In addition to his Carnegie Science roles, Ken joined Breakthrough Energy (BE) as Senior Scientist in January of 2021, but Ken has been helping to bring information and expertise to Bill Gates since 2007.  Ken is responsible for helping to assure that researchers and analysts in the Breakthrough Energy network have access to reliable and up-to-date scientific and technical information. Ken is committed to helping scale the technologies we need to achieve a path to net zero emissions by 2050, and thinking through the process of getting these technologies deployed around the world in ways that can both improve people’s lives and protect the environment.

Ken has a wide-spectrum approach to analyzing the world’s energy and climate systems. He studies the global carbon cycle; marine biogeochemistry and chemical oceanography, including ocean acidification and the atmosphere/ocean carbon cycle; land-cover and climate change; the long-term evolution of climate and geochemical cycles; climate intervention proposals; and energy technology. Before 2005, Ken worked as an environmental scientist and physicist for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Prior to graduate school, Ken developed software in New York’s financial district for clients including the New York Stock Exchange and First Boston. Ken holds Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Atmospheric Sciences from New York University and a B.A. degree in Philosophy from Rutgers College. Ken lives in the San Francisco Bay area with his wife Lilian and his grown child, Kirill. In addition to his family, he also loves music and his home recording studio, hiking, skiing, and, most recently, tennis.

 

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Ken Caldeira is a Senior Scientist (emeritus) in Carnegie Institution for Science's Department of Global Ecology. He is also a Senior Scientist at Breakthrough Energy, a non-profit organization aimed at "helping the world get to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions while making sure everyone has access to the clean, affordable, and reliable energy they need to thrive." Caldeira is also a Professor (by courtesy) in Stanford University’s Department of Earth System Science, and participates in teaching and advising of Stanford students in that capacity. Professor Caldeira has a wide-spectrum approach to analyzing the world’s climate systems. He studies the global carbon cycle; marine biogeochemistry and chemical oceanography, including ocean acidification and the atmosphere/ocean carbon cycle; land-cover and climate change; the long-term evolution of climate and geochemical cycles; climate intervention proposals; and energy technology.

Caldeira has one job responsibility in his position at the Carnegie Institution and that is “to make important scientific discoveries.” To facilitate this discovery process, the Carnegie Institution assures Caldeira funding for himself and approximately 1.5 post-doctoral research assistants, without requiring any specific deliverables. In addition to this base funding, Caldeira has been helping arrange a seminar series for Bill Gates on climate and energy issues, and in his generosity, Mr. Gates has seen fit to support several additional post-doctoral researchers in Prof. Caldeira’s group. Thus, Caldeira’s group is in a very rare scientific situation in which they have funds to do work without having specific deliverables, so they are free to work on issues they deem most important.

Caldeira is a member of the committee producing the 2015 U.S. National Academy of Sciences report "Geoengineering Climate: Technical Evaluation and Discussion of Impacts". He is also a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR5 report Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. In 2010, Caldeira was elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He was a co-author of the 2010 US National Academy America's Climate Choices report. He participated in the UK Royal Society geoengineering panel in 2009 and ocean acidification panel in 2005. Caldeira was coordinating lead author of the oceans chapter for the 2005 IPCC report on Carbon Capture and Storage.

From the early 1990s to 2005, he was with the Energy and Environment Directorate at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he was awarded the Edward Teller Fellowship (2004), the highest award given by that laboratory. Caldeira did post-doctoral research in the Department of Geosciences at Penn State University and in the Energy and Environment Directorate of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Caldeira received his B.A. from Rutgers College and both his M.S. (1988) and Ph.D. (1991) in atmospheric sciences from New York University. In the 1980’s, Caldeira held a number of positions developing computer software for various clients in New York’s financial district. 

Among Caldeira’s many key contributions to science are his relatively early recognition of the threats posed by ocean acidification, his pioneering investigations into the environmental consequences of intentional intervention in the climate system (“geoengineering”), and central role in helping to elucidate what our understanding of long-term geochemical cycles implies for the fate of today’s carbon dioxide emissions.