Path to Zero
Path to Zero
4.18 - Climate Scientist Kevin Trenberth on Making the Biggest Difference with Climate Change

Path to Zero recognizes Earth Day 2023 with an objective assessment on where things stand regarding the fight against climate change and the planet’s weather patterns with Dr. Kevin Trenberth, one of the world’s premier climate scientists.

It’s hard to imagine anyone who has contributed more to the understanding of climate change than Dr. Trenberth. He was a lead author of the Scientific Assessment of Climate Change reports from the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in 1995, 2001 and 2007. Dr. Trenberth shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize which went to the IPCC.

Currently, he’s a Distinguished Scholar at the National Center of Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, and an Honorary Academic in the Department of Physics at Auckland University in New Zealand.

Among the topics Tucker discusses with Dr. Trenberth:

  • Progress on reducing global carbon emissions
  • The impact of China-United States relations on climate change
  • The need for climate change adaptation and building resiliency
  • Can carbon capture technology make a difference in slowing climate change?
  • How curbing fugitive methane emissions can make the biggest difference in the short-term

Tucker spends a great deal of time with Dr. Trenberth on his latest book, The Changing Flow of Energy Through the Climate System, where he uses the concept of energy flows to explain how Earth’s climate system operates and how it’s being profoundly impacted by human-generated carbon emissions.

“The buildup of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere produces heating of the climate system with one of the consequences being increasing temperatures,” says Trenberth. “But it also has many other consequences, and the book was designed to explain that. You also get melting ice, warming oceans, expanding sea level and more moisture into the atmosphere. As a result, all of the weather systems are invigorated and we get stronger rainfall events, as well as longer lasting and more intense hurricanes.”