Preventing dangerous climate change may require very deep reductions of greenhouse gases. Several countries and scientists have proposed on the basis of assessing climate risks that limiting the increase of global mean temperature to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) would be necessary. A critical question is whether such targets can still be achieved - and if so - how?

Detlef van Vuuren is a senior researcher at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and was a lead author in the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He has played a leading role in designing emissions reductions that keep global warming to low limits, providing influential background for post-Kyoto negotiations.

van Vuuren spoke on Feb. 2, 2009 in Goldwin Smith Hall as part of the Climate Change Forum. The forum is an initiative of Cornell faculty in the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, and humanities for deeply interdisciplinary mutual learning in pursuit of an effective and just response to the challenge of global warming. It is sponsored by the Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future, with support from the Colleges of Engineering and Agriculture & Life Sciences and the Institute for Computational Sustainability.