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Dr. Michael Oppenheimer to Speak at World Wildlife Fund

Princeton University Expert Will Provide the Latest Insights on Thresholds
for a Variety of Global Warming Impacts

WASHINGTON DC, November 12, 2008 – Dr. Michael Oppenheimer, Princeton University professor and a leading scholar on global warming, will discuss “Dangerous Anthropogenic Interference: The Latest Insights” at World Wildlife Fund on Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 4:30 p.m.  The lecture is part of the Kathryn Fuller Science for Nature Seminar series, which brings distinguished scientists from a variety of fields to Washington, D.C. to present cutting edge research of central importance to international conservation. 

In answer to the question, “how warm is too warm?” a variety of measures of dangerous climate change have been developed over a 20-year period.  IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), while not labeling a particular warming as “dangerous”, vastly facilitated this discussion by providing quantitative thresholds for a variety of impacts that had previously been considered as “dangerous” in the literature, and by systematizing their analysis. These benchmarks range from geophysical thresholds like collapse of an ice sheet, to threats to human health from extreme events, to fraying of the social systems as a multitude of impacts converge. Dr. Oppenheimer’s talk will provide an overview, including new results since AR4 was published, which together point toward a threshold for danger at a relatively modest global warming.

Michael Oppenheimer is the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs at Princeton University. He is also the Director of the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP) at the Woodrow Wilson School, and Associated Faculty of the Princeton Environmental Institute and the Atmosphere and Ocean Sciences Program. He joined the Princeton faculty in 2002 after more than two decades with Environmental Defense, a non-governmental environmental organization, where he served as chief scientist and manager of the Climate and Air Program.

Oppenheimer is a long-time participant in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, serving most recently as a lead author of the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report. He is currently a member of the National Academy of Sciences' Panel on Alternative Liquid Transportation Fuels. As one of the nation’s leading experts on the effects of climate change, he has appeared on national media talk shows, including Oprah and The Colbert Report.

His interests include science and policy of the atmosphere, particularly climate change and its impacts. Much of his research aims to understand the potential for "dangerous" outcomes of increasing levels of greenhouse gases by exploring the effects of global warming on ecosystems such as coral reefs, on the ice sheets, and on sea level. He also studies the role played by nongovernmental organizations in the policy arena, the role of scientific learning and scientific assessment in decisions on problems of global change, and the potential value of precautionary frameworks.

When:4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. (lecture); 5:30 – 6:30 (reception), Thursday, November 13, 2008Where:World Wildlife Fund, Russell Train Conference Center, 1250 24th St. NW (between M and N streets). Admission is free: Click here for a Map.
Registration at:
Who:Dr. Michael Oppenheimer, is Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs, Department of Geosciences and Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University.

This lecture is funded through the Kathryn Fuller Science for Nature Fund, which honors Kathryn S. Fuller, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund from 1989 to 2005.