How to Fix the Climate-Change Panel

Questions for climate modeler and IPCC insider Kevin E. Trenberth

5 min read
How to Fix the Climate-Change Panel

Keven E. Trenberth

Photo: Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI/Landov

New Zealander Kevin E. Trenberth has been a lead author in the last three climate assessments produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and he shared in the 2007 Nobel Prize awarded to the IPCC. He is head of the climate analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. IEEE Spectrum Contributing Editor William Sweet interviewed Trenberth about the impact of the theft last year of climate scientists’ e-mails from the University of East Anglia and proposals for reforming the IPCC.

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This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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