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Edenhofer awarded with most prestigious environmental prize
2.9.2020 - This year’s "Umweltpreis" – the most prestigious environmental prize in Germany – goes to Ottmar Edenhofer. Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt honours the Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK, member of Leibniz Association), and of the Mercator Research Institute for Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), for his groundbreaking work namely in the field of carbon pricing. The award will be presented to Edenhofer by the German head of state, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on 25 October in Hanover.
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An Economic Case for the UN Climate Targets: Early and strong climate action pays off
13/07/2020 - Climate action is not cheap – but climate damages aren’t, either. So what level of climate action is best, economically speaking? This question has puzzled economists for decades, and in particular since the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics went to William Nordhaus, who found 3.5 degrees of warming by 2100 might be an economically desirable outcome. An international team of scientists led by the Potsdam Institute has now updated the computer simulation model used to come to this conclusion with latest data and insights from both climate science and economics. They found that limiting global warming to below 2 degrees strikes an economically optimal balance between future climate damages and today’s climate mitigation costs. This would require a price of CO2 of more than 100 US Dollar per ton.
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Science Platform Climate Protection: The German government's Corona economic stimulus package needs a climate impact assessment
07/09/2020 - On July 9, 2020, the Steering Committee of the German Science Platform Climate Protection (WPKS) presented and discussed with State Secretaries Jochen Flasbarth (BMU) and Wolf-Dieter Lukas (BMBF) a statement on climate policy requirements for the design of economic stimulus packages in the Corona crisis. Eight renowned scientists from various disciplines coordinate the tasks of the Science Platform Climate Protection in the Steering Committee. In doing so, they support the Federal Government in the implementation and further development of the Climate Protection Plan 2050 and thus contribute to achieving national, European and international climate protection goals.
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Making sense of climate scenarios: toolkit for decision-makers launched
03/06/2020 - To make climate scenarios work for decision-makers, an international team of researchers developed a comprehensive interactive online platform. It is the first of its kind to provide the tools to use those scenarios – from climate impacts to mitigation and energy options – to a broader public beyond science. The scenarios help policy makers and businesses, finance actors and civil society alike to assess the threat of global warming and ways to limit it.
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Five years after the Paris Agreement: Large gap between promises and current implementation
29/04/2020 - Achieving the overall goals of the Paris Agreement will require a deep reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions, ideally by around 40%–50% by 2030. However, current national implementation of climate policies remains insufficient, yielding only around 5.5% reduction in emissions by 2030. The study was coordinated by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and Utrecht University in cooperation with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and was published in Nature Communications. The findings are a contribution to the global evaluation of the Paris Agreement, held during the next three years.
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G20 and climate: Edenhofer speaks at Global Solutions Summit
23/04/2020 - To advance the coupling of economic and environmental prosperity, leading thinkers and doers assembled at this year's Global Solutions Summit. PIK Director Ottmar Edenhofer was invited to deliver a keynote on what the G20 – the world’s largest economies – can do to prepare the road towards the next global climate summit COP26. The focus was on how to ensure functioning global carbon markets. Gunnar Luderer, also from the Potsdam Institute, participated in a panel debate on a circular carbon economy – in fact mitigation options such as storing or re-using CO2 emissions, or using biomass and renewables based-fuels.
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Coal exit benefits outweigh its costs
23/03/2020 - Coal combustion is not only the single most important source of CO2, accounting for more than a third of global emissions, but also a major contributor to detrimental effects on public health and biodiversity. Yet, globally phasing out coal remains one of the hardest political nuts to crack. New computer simulations by an international team of researchers are now providing robust economic arguments for why it is worth the effort: For once, their simulations show that the world cannot stay below the 2 degrees limit if we continue to burn coal. Second, the benefits of phasing out coal clearly outweigh the costs. Third, those benefits occur mostly locally and short-term, which make them useful for policy makers.
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The Climate Crisis and Churches' Options for Action: Ecumenical Learning Journey to PIK
05/03/2020 - 32 representatives from several churches took on a leaning journey about climate change and its consequences in Berlin and Potsdam. At the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Wolfgang Lucht shared some insights on Earth system research. The participants' conclusion: The church can play a major role in bridging the gap between knowledge and action and contribute to a different lifestyle through ecological spirituality.
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Buildings can become a global CO2 sink if made out of wood instead of cement and steel
A material revolution replacing cement and steel in urban construction by wood can have double benefits for climate stabilization, a new study shows. First, it can avoid greenhouse gas emissions from cement and steel production. Second, it can turn buildings into a carbon sink as they store the CO2 taken up from the air by trees that are harvested and used as engineered timber. However while the required amount of timber harvest is available in theory, such an upscaling would clearly need most careful, sustainable forest management and governance, the international team of authors stresses.
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Tipping mechanisms could spark profound societal change towards climate stabilization: new study
21/01/2020 - Limiting global warming to well below 2°C requires a decarbonized world by 2050 at the latest and a corresponding global transformation of the energy and land use systems of societies across the world. To achieve this goal of net-zero carbon by 2050 emissions need to be cut by half every decade from now on. An interdisciplinary team of researchers now explored tipping mechanisms that have the potential to spark rapid yet constructive societal changes towards climate stabilization and overall sustainability. These tipping elements and mechanisms could bring about a transition that is fast enough for meeting the targets of the Paris climate agreement. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) the scientists identify six socio-economic tipping elements and related interventions that could bring such a transition to a deep and rapid global decarbonization on its way.
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