Ken Caldeira

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Ken Caldeira
Native name Kenneth Caldeira
Alma mater New York University (PhD)

Kenneth Caldeira is an atmospheric scientist who works at the Carnegie Institution for Science's Department of Global Ecology. He researches ocean acidification,[2] climate effects of trees, intentional climate modification, and interactions in the global carbon cycle/climate system.[1][3][4][5][6][7] He also acted as an inventor for Intellectual Ventures, a Seattle-based invention and patent company headed up by Nathan Myhrvold.[8][9][10][11]


Caldeira's work was featured in a 14 May 2012 article in The New Yorker, entitled "The Climate Fixers"[7] and in a 20 November 2006 article in The New Yorker, entitled "The Darkening Sea."[3] In 2007, he contributed two op-ed pieces on the subject of global warming to The New York Times.[4][5] He was named a "Hero Scientist of 2008" by New Scientist magazine.[12] He was listed as number 36 out of 100 Agents of Change in Rolling Stone magazine's 2 April 2009 list of 100 "artists and leaders, policymakers, writers, thinkers, scientists and provocateurs who are fighting every day to show us what is possible."[13]

In response to the controversy caused by the book SuperFreakonomics over Caldeira's view on climate engineering, Caldeira rejected the suggestion that he had said, "Carbon dioxide is not the right villain". He responded by posting on his website, "Carbon dioxide is the right villain...insofar as inanimate objects can be villains."[14] He said that while the other statements attributed to him by authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner are "based in fact", the casual reader could come up with a misimpression of what he [Caldeira] believes.[15]

In 2011, Caldeira resigned as a lead author of an IPCC AR5 chapter, stating "Again, I think the IPCC has been extremely useful in the past, and I believe the IPCC could be extremely useful in the future. [...] My resignation was made possible because I believe that the chapter team that I was part of was on the right track and doing an excellent job without my contribution. Had I had a scientific criticism of my chapter team, you can be assured that I would have stayed involved. So, my resignation was a vote of confidence in my scientific peers, not a critique." [16]

Caldeira has argued for a policy goal of zero carbon dioxide emissions. In 2005, he said, "If you’re talking about mugging little old ladies, you don’t say, ‘What’s our target for the rate of mugging little old ladies?’ You say, ‘Mugging little old ladies is bad, and we’re going to try to eliminate it.’ You recognize you might not be a hundred per cent successful, but your goal is to eliminate the mugging of little old ladies. And I think we need to eventually come around to looking at carbon dioxide emissions the same way.".[3] In 2014, he said, "It is time to stop building things with tailpipes and smokestacks. It is time to stop using the sky as a waste dump for our carbon dioxide pollution." [17]

In 2013, with other leading experts, he was co-author of an open letter to policy makers, which stated that "continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity's ability to avoid dangerous climate change."[18]


In the 1980s, Caldeira worked as a software developer.[3] He received his Ph.D in Atmospheric Sciences in 1991 from the New York University Department of Applied Science.[19] From 1991 to 1993, Caldeira worked at Penn State University as a post-doctoral researcher. He then worked as an Environmental Scientist and Physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory until 2005, when he began his current position at the Carnegie Institution: Department of Global Ecology.[20]


  1. ^ a b Ken Caldeira's publications indexed by Google Scholar
  2. ^ Caldeira, K; Wickett, M. E. (2003). "Oceanography: Anthropogenic carbon and ocean pH". Nature. 425 (6956): 365. Bibcode:2003Natur.425..365C. doi:10.1038/425365a. PMID 14508477. 
  3. ^ a b c d "The Darkening Sea". The New Yorker. 20 November 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  4. ^ a b "When Being Green Raises the Heat". The New York Times. 16 January 2007.  External link in |title= (help);
  5. ^ a b "How to Cool the Globe". The New York Times. 24 October 2007.  External link in |title= (help);
  6. ^ "New Study Warns of Total Loss of Arctic Tundra". The New York Times. 1 November 2005.  External link in |title= (help);
  7. ^ a b "The Climate Fixer The New Yorker". 14 May 2012.  External link in |title= (help);
  8. ^
  9. ^ Pagani, M; Caldeira, K; Berner, R; Beerling, D. J. (2009). "The role of terrestrial plants in limiting atmospheric CO2 decline over the past 24 million years". Nature. 460 (7251): 85–8. Bibcode:2009Natur.460...85P. doi:10.1038/nature08133. PMID 19571882. 
  10. ^ Ken Caldeira on Twitter
  11. ^ Hoegh-Guldberg, O.; Mumby, P. J.; Hooten, A. J.; Steneck, R. S.; Greenfield, P.; Gomez, E.; Harvell, C. D.; Sale, P. F.; Edwards, A. J.; Caldeira, K.; Knowlton, N.; Eakin, C. M.; Iglesias-Prieto, R.; Muthiga, N.; Bradbury, R. H.; Dubi, A.; Hatziolos, M. E. (2007). "Coral Reefs Under Rapid Climate Change and Ocean Acidification". Science. 318 (5857): 1737–1742. Bibcode:2007Sci...318.1737H. doi:10.1126/science.1152509. PMID 18079392. 
  12. ^ "Science Heroes and Villains of 2008 New Scientist". 22 December 2008.  External link in |title= (help);
  13. ^ "The RS 100 Agents of Change Rolling Stone". 2 April 2009.  External link in |title= (help);
  14. ^ Caldeira Lab webpage. Retrieved 2010-05-15
  15. ^ Jeff Goodell (2009-10-21). "Geoengineering the Planet: The Possibilities and the Pitfalls (interview with Caldeira)". Yale Environment 360. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  16. ^ New Directions for the Intergovernmental Climate Panel Andrew Revkin, New York Times, December 21, 2011
  17. ^ David Perlman (2014-05-01). "High carbon dioxide levels set a record". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2014-05-03. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ Final Prospectus for Synthesis and Assessment Product 2.2, Biography: Ken Caldeira
  20. ^ Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution of Washington