Our Team

Ken Caldeira

Senior Scientist

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.

In addition to his Breakthrough Energy roles, 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.

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.