Health, Security & Development
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Weather, Extremes & Atmosphere
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Complex Networks, Machine Learning & Decision Theory
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Ice, Oceans & Sea Level Rise
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Land Use, Food, Water & Ecosystems
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Planetary Boundaries, Tipping Elements & Global Commons
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Climate Policy, Economics & Energy
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From natural science to social science, from risks to solutions, from identifying Planetary Boundaries to managing Global Commons: The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) is advancing the frontier of integrated research for global sustainability, and for a safe and just climate future. A member of the Leibniz Association, the institute is based in Potsdam, Brandenburg and connected with the global scientific community. Drawing on excellent research, PIK provides relevant scientific advice for policy decision-making. The institute’s international staff of more than 300 is led by a committed interdisciplinary team of Directors. This is science – for a safe tomorrow.

Numbers

100 coronaviruses

100 coronaviruses

Over the past century, global greenhouse gas emissions have led to a sharp increase in the number of bat species in the southern Chinese Yunnan province. Bats in this area have been suggested as the original carriers of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Scientists from Cambridge, Potsdam and Hawaii showed in a study that climate change caused shifts in the natural vegetation of the region, which allowed c. 40 bat species, carrying around 100 coronaviruses, to expand into newly suitable habitat. This process would have likely created new opportunities for viruses to be transmitted or evolve, potentially facilitating the eventual spill-over to humans. In this way, climate change may have played an important role in the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2.

3 Million Years

3 Million Years

Ocean floor deposits and model calculations have confirmed that in the past 3 million years, the global mean temperature has never been more than two degrees above pre-industrial levels, with fluctuating CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Since the beginning of industrialization, more CO2 has accumulated in the atmosphere through the burning of coal, oil and gas than probably ever before in the past 3 million years. Thus, in our current century, there is real threat that without effective climate policy the 2-degree limit of global warming will be breached for the first time – with far-reaching consequences.

+1°C = -5% growth

+1°C = -5% growth

Day-to-day variations in temperature, i.e. short-term variability, has a substantial impact on macroeconomic growth, according to an article by Maximilian Kotz et al, published in Nature Climate Change. If this variability increases by one degree Celsius, economic growth is reduced on average by 5 percentage-points. Particularly affected are economies in low-income regions of the global South, where seasonal temperature differences can be as small as 3°C and farmers and small business owners have not yet cultivated resilience against temperature variability. This is in contrast to Economies in Canada or Russia, where average monthly temperature varies by more than 40°C within a year and economic actors seem better prepared to cope with daily temperature fluctuations than in low-latitude regions

99% industry

99% industry

Almost all of industry energy needs in Europe can be satisfied with clean power by 2050. Replacing fossil fuels with low-CO2 electricity is key to stabilize our climate. 78% of industry’s energy demand is electrifiable with technologies that are already established, Potsdam researchers showed, while 99% can be achieved with the addition of technologies currently under development. However, industry electrification leads to greenhouse gas emissions reductions only if power generation gets greener. If we do this,  in line with the European Green Deal’s targets, energy-related industry emissions would become minimal by mid-century, leaving only process emissions from chemical reactions and the like which account for around one fifth of current industry emissions.

PIK in the Media

La Corriente del Golfo se debilita, lo que pone en peligro el clima de Europa
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数十年後、欧州の平均気温4度低下の可能性…異常気象多発と大西洋南北熱塩循環の変化
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Prąd Zatokowy jest najsłabszy od ponad 1000 lat - wynika z nowych badań. "Silny sygnał ostrzegawczy"
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Ученые пояснили, чем ослабление Гольфстрима грозит США и Европе (1 фото)
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The Gulf Stream is weaker than it has been in 1,000 years. That's bad news
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Corona: Klimawandel als Treiber der Pandemie
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