20 April 2017

For establishing the basis for the global climate agreement in Kigali

Prof. Guus Velders in top 100 TIME Magazine

TIME Magazine has named Professor by Special Appointment Guus Velders as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Velders was honoured by TIME for his work in establishing the basis for the global climate agreement that was signed in Kigali, Rwanda in October 2016. Guus Velders works at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and was recently appointed Professor by Special Appointment of ‘Air quality and climate interactions’ at the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht (IMAU) of Utrecht University.

prof. Guus Velders
Guus Velders / Foto Pieter van Dorp van Vliet Universiteit Utrecht

Over the past years, Velders worked with American researchers to show that hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) have a major impact on the climate. These compounds are used in refrigerators, air conditioners, and insulation materials.

Kigali agreement

In Kigali, Rwanda, world leaders agreed to significantly reduce the use of these greenhouse gases over the coming decades. As a result of this preventive agreement, the contribution of HFCs to climate change will remain limited and be reduced to less than 0.1°C in 2100, compared to a maximum of 0.5°C without the agreement.

Top 10 Nature

For this contribution to the field, the leading scientific magazine Nature has already named Velders as one of the 10 most influential scientists in 2016. RIVM Director-General André van der Zande has also awarded him the RIVM Jenner medal for his breakthrough scientific research.

A basis for climate policy

Over the next few years, Guus Velders will continue working together with his colleagues to further strengthen the scientific basis behind climate policy. With the help of the data and models provided by RIVM and Utrecht University, he intends to monitor the progress of the Paris climate agreement. This will enable RIVM to assist governments and businesses to comply with their national and international climate targets.

Better air quality

Velders also studies the effect of climate change and climate measures on air quality, and vice versa: he is investigating the extent to which particles in the air contribute to air pollution as well as climate change. The insights provided by this research will help improve air quality and to realise the climate goals.

More information

  • News item about the appointment of Guus Velders at Utrecht University
  • Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (IMAU)
  • Interdisciplinary research programme Sustainability


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