Internationally recognized expert on global climate change Ronald Prinn, professor of atmospheric research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, delivered WPI's third annual University Lecture on Monday, Dec. 10, 2007, in Alden Memorial.
WORCESTER, Mass. – Internationally recognized expert on global climate change Ronald Prinn, professor of atmospheric research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, delivered Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s (WPI) third annual University Lecture on Monday, Dec. 10, in Alden Memorial.
Dr. Prinn is a widely respected researcher whose work touches on atmospheric chemistry, dynamics, and physics—on Earth and on other planets—as well as the chemical evolution of atmospheres. He is involved in projects in atmospheric chemistry and biogeochemistry, climate sciences, and assessment of science and policy regarding climate change, and also leads the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment, in which trace gases involved in the greenhouse effect and ozone depletion have been measured for the past 20 years around the world. Prinn has made significant contributions to the development of national and international scientific research programs in global change, and his lecture addressed the science, economics, and policy of climate change.
"There is no doubt in my mind that climate is already changing in very significant ways," said Prinn, who headed MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences from 1998 to 2003. "I emphasize that we cannot wait for perfection in either climate forecasts or impact assessments before taking action. The long-lived greenhouse gases emitted today will last for decades to centuries in the atmosphere. Added to this is the multi-decade period needed to change the global infrastructure for energy and agricultural production and utilization without serious economic impacts."
WPI's University Lecture Series provides rare opportunities to explore the science behind issues that resonate with everyone, as well as provide a forum for speakers of national and international importance to enhance scholarly and scientific learning and stimulate intellectual conversation in the community. Past speakers include Dean Kamen '73, inventor, physicist, and entrepreneur; and Frederick W. Bianchi, composer, music technology innovator, and professor of music within WPI's Department of Humanities and Arts.