Further delay in the implementation of comprehensive international climate policies could substantially increase the short-term costs of climate change mitigation. Global economic growth would be cut back by up to 7 percent within the first decade after climate policy implementation if the current international stalemate is continued until 2030 -- compared to 2 percent if a climate agreement is reached by 2015 already, a study by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) shows. Higher costs would in turn increase the threshold for decision-makers to start the transition to a low-carbon economy. Thus, to keep climate targets within reach it seems to be most relevant to not further postpone mitigation, the researchers conclude. Read more...
11/22/2013 - Sea-level rise in this century is likely to be 70-120 centimeters by 2100 if greenhouse-gas emissions are not mitigated, a broad assessment of the most active scientific publishers on that topic has revealed. The 90 experts participating in the survey anticipate a median sea-level rise of 200-300 centimeters by the year 2300 for a scenario with unmitigated emissions. In contrast, for a scenario with strong emissions reductions, experts expect a sea-level rise of 40-60 centimeters by 2100 and 60-100 centimeters by 2300. The survey was conducted by a team of scientists from the USA and Germany.
11/15/2013 - Achieving a global climate agreement soon could be crucial for the objective to keep global mean temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius. The challenges of meeting the long-term target will otherwise increase drastically both in terms of the required emissions reductions and economic impacts. This is shown by the first comprehensive multi-model-based assessment of so-called Durban Platform scenarios, conducted by a team of international scientists led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) in Italy. The Durban Platform is the current negotiation track at the Warsaw climate talks that aims to reach a global climate agreement by 2015 to come into effect in 2020.
11/05/2013 - Revenues from global carbon emission pricing could exceed the losses fossil fuel owners suffer from this policy. Stabilizing global warming at around 2 degrees Celsius by cutting greenhouse-gas emissions from fossil fuels would mean to leave much of coal, gas and oil unused underground. Yet the instrument of pricing global CO2 emissions could generate a revenue of 32 trillion US dollars over the 21st century, exceeding by far the 12 trillion US dollars reduction of fossil fuel owners’ profits, according to a study now published by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The analysis of the interference of CO2 emission pricing with fossil fuel markets adds key information to the debate on macro-economic effects of climate change mitigation.
10/08/2013 - Both freshwater availability for many millions of people and the stability of ecosystems such as the Siberian tundra or Indian grasslands are put at risk by climate change. Even if global warming is limited to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, 500 million people could be subject to increased water scarcity – while this number would grow by a further 50 percent if greenhouse-gas emissions are not cut soon. At 5 degrees global warming almost all ice-free land might be affected by ecosystem change. This is shown by complementary studies now published by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
12/09/2013 - Further delay in the implementation of comprehensive international climate policies could substantially increase the short-term costs of climate change mitigation. Global economic growth would be cut back by up to 7 percent within the first decade after climate policy implementation if the current international stalemate is continued until 2030 -- compared to 2 percent if a climate agreement is reached by 2015 already, a study by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) shows. Higher costs would in turn increase the threshold for decision-makers to start the transition to a low-carbon economy. Thus, to keep climate targets within reach it seems to be most relevant to not further postpone mitigation, the researchers conclude.
08/15/2013 - Extremes such as the severe heat wave last year in the US or the one 2010 in Russia are likely to be seen much more often in the near future. A few decades ago, they were practically absent. Today, due to man-made climate change monthly heat extremes in summer are already observed on 5 percent of the land area. This is projected to double by 2020 and quadruple by 2040, according to a study by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM). A further increase of heat extremes in the second half of our century could be stopped if global greenhouse-gas emissions would be reduced substantially.
07/17/2013 - Ottmar Edenhofer, Deputy Director and Chief Economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), is co-chairing a new Energy Platform by the European Council of Academies of Applied Sciences, Technologies and Engineering (Euro-CASE), an non-profit organisation of national academies from 21 European countries. Bringing together the combined expertise of the academies, the Euro-CASE Energy Platform will provide independent science based policy advice with a focus on a European perspective for policymakers like the Directorate-General for Climate Action which implements the EU Emissions Trading System or the EU Commissioner for Energy, Günther Oettinger.
07/15/2013 - Greenhouse gases emitted today will cause sea level to rise for centuries to come. Each degree of global warming is likely to raise sea level by more than 2 meters in the future, a study now published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows. While thermal expansion of the ocean and melting mountain glaciers are the most important factors causing sea-level change today, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will be the dominant contributors within the next two millennia, according to the findings. Half of that rise might come from ice-loss in Antarctica which is currently contributing less than 10 percent to global sea-level rise.
07/02/13 - Irregular warming of the Eastern Pacific Ocean, dubbed El Niño by Peruvian fishermen, can generate devastating impacts. Being the most important phenomenon of contemporary natural climate variability, it may trigger floods in Latin America, droughts in Australia, and harvest failures in India. In order to extend forecasting from 6 months to one year or even more, scientists have now proposed a novel approach based on advanced connectivity analysis applied to the climate system. The scheme builds on high-quality data of air temperatures and clearly outperforms existing methods. The study will be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
07/02/2013 - One out of ten people on Earth is likely to live in a climate impact hotspot by the end of this century, if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. Many more are put at risk in a worst-case scenario of the combined impacts on crop yields, water availability, ecosystems, and health, according to a study now published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). It identifies the Amazon region, the Mediterranean and East Africa as regions that might experience severe change in multiple sectors. The article is part of the outcome of the Intersectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP) that will be featured in a special issue of PNAS later this year.
07/01/2013 - What do the cities of the future look like? What role do they play for global climate change? What influence does the German energy transformation have worldwide? These questions are in the centre of the 2nd Global Sustainability Summer School on “COMPLEX(C)ITY – Urbanization and energy transition in a changing climate“ taking place from 1 to 12 July, sponsored by the Robert Bosch Foundation and jointly organised by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS). Junior scientists, well-known climate researchers and experts for urban development from all over the world – from Brazil to India, from Ghana to Mongolia –will meet in Potsdam for this purpose.
06/20/2013 - Day-to-day rainfall in India might become much more variable due to climate change – potentially putting millions of poor farmers and the country’s agricultural productivity at risk. The Indian monsoon is a complex system which is likely to change under future global warming. While it is in the very nature of weather to vary, the question is how much and whether we can deal with it. Extreme rainfall, for example, bears the risk of flooding, and crop failure. Computer simulations with a comprehensive set of 20 state-of-the-art climate models now consistently show that Indian monsoon daily variability might increase, according to a study just published by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
05/30/2013 - Researchers identified a number of hotspots both of global climate change impacts and the science that deals with them. New analyses presented at the Impacts World 2013 Conference this week in Potsdam, Germany, revealed that the Amazon region, east Africa and the Mediterranean will experience serious change if greenhouse-gas emissions continue unabated. More than 300 scientists and stakeholders from 40 countries spent four days discussing the path forward for research on the impacts of climate change – one key outcome is the joining of forces between impacts researchers with economists to assess possible future loss and damage.
05/27/2013 - Droughts, floods, crop failures, invading species and diseases – climate change impacts of today and tomorrow come with a raft of buzz words. But the science behind our understanding of the potential consequences of global warming is both much broader and much more fragmented.
From Potsdam to Pakistan: Confronting vulnerability by building national climate research capacities
05/24/2013 - Pakistan is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change – risks range from the disastrous 2010 floodings that acted as a wake-up call to retreating glaciers impacting freshwater supply. To confront this challenge, the new Centre for Climate Research & Development (CCRD) took up its work this month – a substantial effort to build up indigenous scientific capacities in a place where substantial climate change impacts are actually happening. The centre has been developed in very close cooperation with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). A five-year-agreement envisages joint research projects and the exchange of scientists.
05/06/2013 - Science is an important partner in implementing the German energy transition. Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist and research domain co-chair of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), has been asked to join the working group on economics of the “Energiewende Research Forum”, whose job is to provide scientific advice for political measures to realize the energy transition. The interdisciplinary initiative was sparked by the National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech), the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, and the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities.
04/12/2013 - Directly removing CO2 from the air has the potential to alter the costs of climate change mitigation. It could allow prolonging greenhouse-gas emissions from sectors like transport that are difficult, thus expensive, to turn away from using fossil fuels. And it may help to constrain the financial burden on future generations, a study now published by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) shows. It focuses on the use of biomass for energy generation, combined with carbon capture and storage (CCS). According to the analysis, carbon dioxide removal could be used under certain requirements to alleviate the most costly components of mitigation, but it would not replace the bulk of actual emissions reductions.
04/09/2013 - Jürgen Kurths is awarded the Lewis Fry Richardson Medal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) that honours outstanding achievements in nonlinear geosciences. The renowned prize will be given to him this week at the EGU General Assembly in Vienna that brings together more than 10.000 scientists from all disciplines from earth to space sciences. Kurths is head of the research domain "Transdisciplinary Concepts and Methods" at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and Professor at Humboldt University of Berlin.
04/02/2013 - Berlin aims to be climate neutral in the year 2050 – how this goal can be reached is to be shown by a team of experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), on behalf of the Berlin Senate. “Europe and the whole world is monitoring the Berlin metropolis,” PIK director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber says. "If the German capital is pioneering in climate protection, this is a contribution to maintain the two-degrees-limit in regard to global warming – to achieve this, states have to act as well as bold local authorities." The Berlin Senator for Urban Development and the Environment, Michael Müller, highlights the significance of this feasibility study: "Berlin has to be a highly energy-efficient and modern city and make use of its opportunities for innovation and investments! This is not only to contribute to the energy transition in Germany. We want to live up to our responsibility for the future and lead by example."
02/25/2013 - The world has suffered from severe regional weather extremes in recent years, such as the heat wave in the United States in 2011 or the one in Russia 2010 coinciding with the unprecedented Pakistan flood. Behind these devastating individual events there is a common physical cause, propose scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The study will be published this week in the US Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and suggests that man-made climate change repeatedly disturbs the patterns of atmospheric flow around the globe's Northern hemisphere through a subtle resonance mechanism.