04/03/2014 – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) this Monday released its milestone report on climate change impacts on societies and nature and on adaptation. From the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Wolfgang Cramer was one of just eleven German scientists to participate in the final approval sessions with government representatives from all over the world in Yokohama, Japan. In Berlin, he was one of the speakers at the first presentation of the report at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences. Another speaker was Katja Frieler, also from PIK, who led the first comprehensive intersectoral impacts model Intercomparison (ISI-MIP). Many important findings from this project have in fact been incorporated into the new IPCC report.
03/28/2014 - Water levels of the Elbe and other big German rivers are currently as low as normally in late summer. Scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research have examined extremely low water levels as well as floods for a long time, but the current observed aridness goes beyond the scientists´ scenarios. This could have serious impacts on shipping and agriculture. Individual actors already warn of a record drought. -
03/21/2014 - To share insights on a forthcoming report for the World Bank, including data and modelling, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) recently hosted a workshop for regional scientists. The report will provide analyses of climate change impacts on issues ranging from heat extremes to sea-level change in the Middle East and North Africa, agriculture in the Western Balkans/Central Asia and forests in Russia. It is the third in a series entitled “Turn down the heat” and is being produced in collaboration with Climate Analytics (CA). The aim is to identify development challenges created by global warming in order to assess social vulnerabilities.
03/21/2014 - The equal opportunities officers of the institutes that are members of the Leibniz Association chose Christine Bounama from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research to become the deputy chair of their speakers’ council. This body is where the equal opportunity officers discuss statements and strategies that aim at getting more women into executive positions, fostering the reconciliation of work and family life, and promoting young female scientists.
03/19/2014 - This week, the heads of the EU member states will meet in Brussels to discuss the adoption of a 40 percent greenhouse gas reduction target for 2030. Despite the fragmented state of global climate policy, such front runner action could reduce future global warming by more than 1 degree if it induced others to join by 2030. This is shown by a study now published by an international team of scientists. Major emitting countries may have to join the EU's effort much earlier to avoid a temporary overshoot of the 2 degree target, but even if they joined only in 2030, the overshoot would be limited to roughly 0.2 to 0.4 degrees Celsius. The initial unilateral leadership could be achieved at little extra costs for the EU. Late-comers would have the benefit of lower costs while they delay action but would face higher transient costs once their turn to decarbonize comes.
03/18/2014 - International trade of food crops led to freshwater savings worth 2.4 billion US-Dollars in 2005 and had a major impact on local water stress. This is shown in a new study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Trading food involves the trade of virtually embedded water used for production, and the amount of that water depends heavily on the climatic conditions in the production region: It takes, for instance, 2.700 liters of water to produce 1 kilo of cereals in Morocco, while the same kilo produced in Germany uses up only 520 liters. Analyzing the impact of trade on local water scarcity, our scientists found that it is not the amount of water used that counts most, but the origin of the water. While parts of India or the Middle East alleviate their water scarcity through importing crops, some countries in Southern Europe export agricultural goods from water-scarce sites, thus increasing local water stress.
03/17/2014 - Berlin can reduce its CO2 emissions from presently about 21 million tons to 4.4 million tons in 2050 – despite economic growth and population increase. This would mean a reduction of about 85 percent compared to the basis year 1990 and complies with the ambition to make Berlin a climate-neutral city. As a positive side-effect, there could be a regional economic effect of up to 138 million euro from the shift in the energy supply from fossil to mainly renewable energy sources.