05/10/2013 - „Nothing is as uncertain as the future“ – about 100 aspiring junior scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research discussed uncertainties in climate impact research at their annual „PhD Day“ this week. At the fourth meeting of that kind, the scientists talked about various aspects of uncertainties in their research in „World Café“ style, switching discussion groups and topics regularly to exchange views with each other. Tony Patt from the International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA) gave a keynote on uncertainty and the science/policy interface.
05/08/2013 - The Federal Governement of Germany today decided upon the appointments for the German Advisory Council on Global Change (Wissenschaftlicher Beirat Globale Umweltveränderungen, WBGU). Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and long-standing chair of the council, has been confirmed as a member. Being an independent scientific counseling body, WBGU is charged to develop recommendations for the governement. Its members will be in office until 2016.
05/03/2013 - For her research on climate change and the Antarctic ice shield, Ricarda Winkelmann was awarded with a young scientists prize. The Natural Sciences Department at the University of Potsdam presents this prize for outstanding publications. Winkelmann, aged 27, leads the group on projections of Antarctica´s contribution to future global sea level rise at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The jury highlighted her "most impressive contribution to our understanding of the physics of Antarctica's ice shield dynamics."
04/25/2013 – More than 60 representatives of science and industry meet at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) this week for a two-day strategy meeting of Climate-KIC. The European network of Climate Knowledge and Innovation Communities brings together research, businesses and technology to kick off innovation in climate mitigation and adaptation with creative partnerships. Partners of Climate-KIC in addition to PIK are for instance the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zurich, the Imperial College in London and companies like Bayer Technology Services or Electricité de France.
04/17/2013 - The preparations for the next climate agreement that is supposed to be reached in 2015 are already taking shape – and civil society is being asked to accompany and support the EU´s development/decision process. On invitation by Connie Hedegaard, the EU´s Commissioner for Climate Action, a number of experts and decision makers meet at a stakeholder´s conference in Brussels today. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, has been asked to hold a keynote on the state of play in climate science.
04/04/2013 - Even the best research cannot predict the future. To respond to the challenges of climate mitigation and adaptation, decisions have to be made based on uncertainties – for example when a new embankment is to be built that is supposed to withstand even a strong storm surge. Systematic strategies of risk management could enhance such decision processes and play an important part in the development of robust policy options, a team of international scientists, among them Ottmar Edenhofer from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), writes in Nature Climate Change. Their study “Risk Management and Climate Change” analyses the use of appropriate instruments for the assessment of potential climate impacts.
03/28/2013 - For his „important contribution to research on the global impact of civilization on the climate, and fostering awareness for these findings in society and politics”, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, was awarded the Wilhelm-Foerster-Prize 2013 of Urania Potsdam last night. Among the many felicitators were the Brandenburg Minister of Science, Research and Culture, Sabine Kunst, and Potsdam´s mayor Jann Jakobs.
03/28/2013 - March 2013 in Europe has been somewhat cold. How this might be linked to global warming was shown by a study by PIK scientist Vladimir Petoukhov in 2010 already. The shrinking of sea-ice in the eastern Arctic causes some regional heating of the lower levels of air – which may lead to strong anomalies in atmospheric airstreams, triggering an overall cooling of the northern continents. These anomalies could increase the probability of cold winter extremes in Europe and northern Asia, the analysis showed.
2013/03/21 – Researchers from various fields of complex systems science, and from various countries, are gathering this week in Potsdam. They tackle issues from astrophysics to climate research, fromj neuroscience to physiology – thereby illustrating the strong interdisciplinary character as well as the broad range of applications for the mathematical methodologies of nonlinear data analysis. The meeting marks the occasion of the 60th birthday of Jürgen Kurths, co-chair of the department 'Transdisciplinary Concepts and Methods' at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). An internationally recognized complex systems scientist, during his career he has explored issues of virtually all the fields that now being discussed at the conference.
2013/03/13 - Global warming affects permafrost soils, for instance in Siberia, in two opposing ways. Their thawing accelerates decomposition processes in the soil, leading to higher CO2 emissions. On the other hand, enhanced vegetation growth due to higher temperatures leads to carbon intake by the plants, and consequently storage in the soil. However, the – often neglected – second effect in the long run cannot counter the first one, reveals a study now published by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
03/08/2013 - Naturkundemuseum Berlin, Germany´s leading natural history museum, and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research have agreed to work closer together at a meeting in early March. When a delegation from the museum, led by its Director-General Prof. Dr. Johannes Vogel, visited PIK, a number of ideas for a closer cooperation were identified.
03/07/2013 - "Complex(c)ity – urbanization and energy transitions in a changing climate": this is the title of the 2013 Global Sustainability Summer School. The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) now call for applications. The intense two-week programme explores global sustainability issues from a complex systems’ perspective with particular focus on urbanization, energy transition and climate change.
03/04/2013 - In the run-up to the publication of its fifth assessment report which will present the state of climate science next year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calls for expert reviewers to provide comments on the second order draft of the working group III contribution, which covers the mitigation of climate change. The scientists who are organizing this process ask for voluntary contributions from experts across all sectors, from scholars to business people or NGO representatives.
02/28/2013 - The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, yesterday in Brussels met the newly appointed members of his Science and Technology Advisory Council (PSTAC). Physicist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, will be part of this independent group of eminent experts. The Council is charged to provide foresight and recommendations that could be used to explore opportunities and make informed judgements based on the evidence and advice provided.
02/14/13 - Leading research institutes from more than 10 nations joined forces last week in London and launched the “Earth League”. As a global alliance of eminent scientific representatives from climate research, environmental sciences and economics, this distinguished network focuses on planetary processes and sustainability issues. The Earth League will meet once a year to provide robust background information for decision makers on the most urging challenges for the future.
02/08/2013 - “Two degrees Celsius more in Germany” – scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and sociologists analyzed what this might mean in detail. A book with the same title was just released by Fischer publishing house, addressing a broad public. Hot summers with average temperatures of more than 35 degrees Celsius are only one example of many potential impacts of climate change in Germany: “People in the cities will be affected as well as agriculture and forestry,” says PIK scientist and co-editor Friedrich-Wilhelm Gerstengarbe. The “Scenario 2040” outlines these impacts and illustrates how climate change alters our everyday life.
01/29/2013 - The two supervisory bodies of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research both show a new line-up in 2013. The head of the executive board of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), Hildegard Müller, is now a member of the board of trustees. “Climate research provides central insights for sustainable climate protection,” Müller says. “PIK has delivered important scientific contributions for years. The German Energy and Water Industries are committed to climate protection. They are holding to the goal they already adopted in 2009, to ensure a CO2 neutral energy supply by 2050, and hence to unite sustainable climate protection with affordable energy supply. They support the goals of the German energy system transformation.”
01/14/2012 - Avoiding negative impacts of global warming depends more on starting early to let greenhouse-gas emissions decline than on the rate of reductions after the peak. This is one key outcome of the first global-scale assessment of climate change impacts across sectors, from coastal flooding to crop failure, now published in Nature Climate Change. The analysis suggests that a policy of remaining below a 2 degrees Celsius temperature rise target could reduce impacts by 20 to 65 percent relative to a business-as-usual scenario.
01/08/2013 – Assigning full liability for environmental impacts to the shareholders of corporations would reduce the rigidity of the fossil-nuclear energy economy and help establish an alternative energy system, a new study shows. Without such changes of regulation, a dynamic lock-in pattern of the energy economy dominates: Capital flows to the established corporations and technologies instead of flowing to nascent alternative and more sustainable ones, this pattern is known as the ‘success to the successful mode’. The paper by Jérôme Dangerman of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, will be published this week in the US Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Advancing computer simulations of climate change mitigation costs: EU project hosted by PIK scientists
12/28/2012 - Computer simulations of energy systems, the economy and land use are key for assessing the impacts of climate mitigation strategies. Policy-makers therefore rely on these assessments to decide between different options on the basis of robust information. The ADVANCE project – the acronym stands for Advanced Model Development and Validation for the Improved Analysis of Costs and Impacts of Mitigation Policies – sets out to achieve a substantially better understanding and representation of some rather complex phenomena in the interaction between climate policy and the economy. It is coordinated by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and funded with 6 million Euro by the European Commission.