Guus Velders. Photo: Pieter van Dorp van Vliet Universiteit Utrecht

USA: Dr Guus Velders, one of the scientists whose climate research led to the global agreement to phase down HFCs, has been named as one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people for 2017.

Professor of air quality and climate interactions at Utrecht University and the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Dr Velders’ work calculated that up to 0.5°C of warming could be avoided by reducing HFCs. This and similar analysis provided the scientific foundation for the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol agreed in October.

“The Kigali Amendment is the single largest contribution to date to keep warming below the 2°C guardrail,” said Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD), a policy group in Washington DC. “It’s safe to say that the world wouldn’t have achieved this without Velders and his team.”

“Dr Guus Velders earned this TIME magazine honour with his extraordinary scientific proof that phasing down HFCs will avoid up to 0.5°C of warming,” said Dr Stephen O Andersen, IGSD’s director of research. “By my count, Dr Velders was lead author or co-author of half of the scientific studies that persuaded Parties to amend the Montreal Protocol.”

In December 2016 Velders was recognised by Nature as one of the ten people who mattered this year.