News

RD 2 - Climate Resilience
 

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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Feeding the world without wrecking the planet is possible

20/01/2020 - Almost half of current food production is harmful to our planet – causing biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation and water stress. But as world population continues to grow, can that last? A study led by researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) now suggests a comprehensive solution package for feeding 10 billion people within our planet’s environmental boundaries. Supplying a sufficient and healthy diet for every person whilst keeping our biosphere largely intact will require no less than a technological and socio-cultural U-turn. It includes adopting radically different ways of farming, reduction of food waste, and dietary changes. The study's publication coincides with the World Economic Forum in Davos and the International Green Week in Berlin, the world's biggest food and agriculture fair.
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Climate change, food and agriculture: PIK expertise at International Green Week in Berlin

20/01/2020 - Hundreds of thousands of people are currently exploring the International Green Week in Berlin, a leading global trade fair for agriculture and food with featuring more than 1800 exhibitors from 72 countries. According to the organizers, the International Green Week 2020 is focusing on climate change like never before, with numerous exhibitions and events. This year's trend topics include sustainability, resource conservation and environmentally friendly production processes. Experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) will also be present at events at the Green Week from 17-26 January.
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RD2 involvement and successes in Geo.X

09/01/2020 - The end of 2019 marked a very successful involvement of RD2 in the Geo.X network. Dr. Roopam Shukla was accepted to the Geo.X Young Academy and PhD student Gina Maskell started at PIK in November 2019 under Geo.X funding. Congratulations to both colleagues for this accomplishment!
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Kick-Off 2050CliMobCity and press release

06/12/2019 - On 30 September and 1 October, the Interreg project 2050 CliMobCity took off to a successful start with a kick-off meeting - including instructive seminars and discussions about future proof mobility - organised by the project lead partner Delft University of Technology
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Launch of Ghana study at COP25 in Madrid

11/12/2019 - Yesterday PIK researchers from the working group Adaptation in Agricultural Systems launched a newly published climate risk analysis for Ghana’s agricultural sector at the COP25 in Madrid. During a UNFCCC side-event organised by PIK together with the African Centre of Meteorological Application for Development (ACMAD), Dr. Christoph Gornott presented key insights from the study.
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COP25: PIK experts in Madrid

02.12.2019 - "Time for Action": About 25,000 delegates from all over the world are expected to attend the UN Climate Conference COP25 from December 2-13 in Madrid, Spain. "We stand at a critical juncture in our collective efforts to limit dangerous global heating", UN General Secretary António Guterres said at the Opening Ceremony of COP25 in the Spanish Capital. "Millions throughout the world – especially young people – are calling on leaders from all sectors to do more, much more, to address the climate emergency we face. They know we need to get on the right path today, not tomorrow. That means important decisions must be made now," he stressed in his remarks.
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Ten PIK researchers among the most influential scientists worldwide: ranking

29.11.2019 - According to a new Clarivate ranking, ten scientists from all research areas of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) are among the most cited researchers worldwide. This places them among the most influential scientists in the world, and their studies rank among the top 1% of scientific literature. Whether natural or social sciences, PIK is among the most renowned research institutions in Germany and worldwide, as the recently published ranking shows.
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PIK side-event at the Global Dialogue Platform on Anticipatory Humanitarian Action 2019

12-14/11/2019 - Scientists of the RD2 Working Group 'Adaptation in Agricultural Systems' organised a side session on "Early warnings of food insecurity to allow more time for action: what is already possible?"
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Decarbonizing the power sector: renewable energy offers most benefits for health and environment

19/11/2019 - Electricity supply is one of the biggest CO2 emitters globally. To keep global warming well below 2°C, several paths lead to zero emissions in the energy sector, and each has its potential environmental impacts - such as air and water pollution, land-use or water demand. Using a first-time combination of multiple modelling systems, an international team of researchers led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) has now quantified the actual benefits and downsides of three main roads to decarbonisation. They show that relying mainly on wind and solar would bring most co-benefits for the health of people and planet. Switching to carbon capture and storage in combination with fossil and biomass resources, in turn, is likely to convey significant environmental costs by devouring large areas at the cost of biodiversity, and by releasing pollutants to the environment.
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Lancet Countdown: Forschungsbericht zu Klimawandel und Gesundheit

14.11.2019 - Bis zum Ende dieses Jahrhunderts sind jährlich bis zu fünf zusätzliche Hitzewellen in Norddeutschland und bis zu 30 in Süddeutschland zu erwarten, wenn wir mit dem Ausstoß von Treibhausgasen so weitermachen wie bisher. Damit einhergehender Hitzestress und hohe bodennahe Ozonkonzentrationen können schwerwiegende Folgen für die menschliche Gesundheit haben. Dazu zählen unter anderem Hitzschlag, Herzinfarkt und akutes Nierenversagen aufgrund von Flüssigkeitsmangel. Am stärksten gefährdet sind ältere Menschen, Säuglinge, Patienten mit chronischen Erkrankungen sowie Personen, die schwere körperliche Arbeit im Freien verrichten, etwa Bauarbeiter.
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Successful collaboration between PIK and Munich Re on crop insurance

01/09/2019 - Crop insurance is considered as a means to escape the poverty trap when low harvests do not delay necessary investments as the loss of revenue is covered by the insurance. The successful acquisition of funding is a result of the work conducted in the "AgRATI India" project funded by the EIT Climate-KIC (a body of the European Union).
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Four new AXIS-projects at RD2

23/10/2019 - Four new AXIS-projects with RD2-lead or participation started this autumn: MECCA, MAPPY, CROSSDRO and BioClimapAth.
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CASCADES Project Kick-Off

11/10/2019 - The Kick-Off meeting of CASCADES was hosted at PIK at the end of September 2019. The EU-Project on "CAScading Climate risks: towards ADaptive and resilient European Societies" is coordinated by Dr. Ilona M. Otto and Dr. Christopher Reyer.
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PeaceLAB-Blog zum Klimaschutz und Krisenprävention

03/09/2019 - Im 'PeaceLAB Blog' welches vom Global Public Policy Institute und dem Auswärtigen Amt betrieben wird, erklären Stefanie Wesch, Lisa Murken und Kira Vinke: 'Warum Klimaschutz Krisenprävention ist: Das Beispiel Burkina Faso'.
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Klimanotstand in Potsdam: RD2-Wissenschaftler in der Öffentlichkeit

19/09/2019 - Dr. habil. Fritz Reusswig, Soziologe und RD2-Wissenschaftler in der Urban Transformations-Arbeitsgruppe, hat mehrere Interviews zum Klimanotstand in Potsdam gegeben.
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Leibniz PhD General Assembly gathers at PIK

26/09/2019 - PhD students from all disciplines of the Leibniz Association are gathering this week in Potsdam to discuss their research, exchange ideas and network. Hosted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the two day Leibniz PhD Network General Assembly brings together doctoral researchers for an elaborate programme including talks, discussions and the election of spokespersons. The students were welcomed by Ingo Bräuer, head of PIK's science coordination and transfer, at PIK on Telegrafenberg Science Campus.
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From avocados to apples: Producing food closer to cities could help reduce climate emissions

29.08.2019 - Millions of tons of groceries from agriculture are transported to our cities all around the globe every day to feed its dwellers. Produced anywhere in the world and transported as cargo on roads, rail or water from the farm gate into cities, this food transport is linked to a huge amount of CO2 emissions. Exploring options to reduce this “food-print”, a team of city researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) now provides the first global analysis of the potential of local food production to feed hungry cities in present and future. As it turns out, a large number of urban residents in many parts of the world could be nourished by local agriculture. However, climate change might take that option off the table, if greenhouse gas emissions are not rapidly reduced.
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Looking beyond the farm gate: New IPCC Special Report on Land Use and Climate Change

08/08/2019 – Almost three quarters of habitable land on earth are under human use – resulting in substantial impacts on our climate, a new report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows. Today, almost a quarter of human-made greenhouse gas emissions arise from agriculture, forestry and other land use. The latest IPCC Special Report investigates the current situation, possible future scenarios and potential solutions on how we can use land to feed ourselves, fuel economic growth and limit climate change risks. Two Potsdam scientists figure as lead authors of the chapter on food security and on the relations between land and climate.
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Drought. Water stress. Extreme weather events. How does climate change impact agriculture in Europe?

05/08/2019 - This summer news on extreme weather events is ubiquitous. Central Europe experienced unprecedented dry spells and heat waves leading to stress for humans and also agricultural crops. This raises the following question: What are the climate change impacts on crop production in Europe?
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Strengthening climate protection "bottom up": Municipal workshop at PIK

27.06.2019 - Mayors and other representatives of municipalities and counties in Germany meet this week in Potsdam to discuss how climate protection can be strengthened "bottom up". Organised by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the two-day "KliB-up Municipal Workshop" will focus on a climate friendly everyday lifes and the involvement of citizens in active municipal climate protection. Many municipalities and rural districts have been active in this field for years and have set themselves ambitious climate targets, such as the so-called master plan municipalities in Germany. These targets can hardly be achieved without the commitment of private households. How a climate friendly everyday life could look like in practice, more than 100 households in Berlin recently already tested that in the context of the PIK living lab "Klimaneutral leben in Berlin" (KliB). As a result, the participating households were about 33 percent below the German average at the end of the one-year project.
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First Professor for Climate Change and Health appointed

17/06/2019 - Is climate change a global health emergency? Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) have joined forces to create the first-ever Professorship for Climate Change and Health in any German medical school. Its purpose will be to study the links between climate change and population health. The physician and epidemiologist Prof. Dr. Dr. Sabine Gabrysch has now been appointed.
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CO2-pricing: German chancellor Angela Merkel visited PIK for a scientific briefing

14/06/2019 - For more than two hours, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) last Thursday, June 13th, to discuss climate change and climate policy with Director Ottmar Edenhofer and other researchers. A special focus of the meeting lay on options for an effective and fair CO2 pricing. Besides Mrs Merkel, Minister of State to the Federal Chancellor, Helge Braun, spokesman State Secretary Steffen Seibert and experts from the Chancellery also took part. A good two dozen researchers from all research departments at PIK were involved in the round table discussion taking place the Great Cupola of PIK's historic Michelson building and presented research results on climate risks and possible solutions for the climate crisis.
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Climate protection and peace are two sides of the same coin: Berlin Climate and Security Conference

04/06/2019 –Climate change knows no borders, and climate crises can affect security, ranging from food security and displacement to an increasing number of natural disasters. Indeed, a destabilised Earth system can make peace harder to achieve and sustain, and may even be a contributing factor to new violent conflicts. This makes our climate a foreign policy issue. In cooperation with the Federal Foreign Office and the think tank adelphi, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has initiated the Berlin Climate and Security Conference to provide a forum for this rising issue. The summit will gather support for the “Berlin Call for Action”, directed at every foreign policy institution to step up efforts to address one of the greatest global security and foreign policy challenges of the 21st century: Climate change.
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Dutch royal couple visits Telegrafenberg

05/22/2019 - King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands visited the Albert Einstein Science Park on Potsdam's Telegrafenberg during their stay in the State of Brandenburg today. In the presence of Brandenburgs Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke and Minister of Science Martina Münch, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the GeoResearchCenter (GFZ) signed cooperation agreements with Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and TU Delft. The agreements are on geothermal research and research on weather extremes.
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The Long Night of the Sciences at PIK

20/05/2019 - In a few weeks, over 60 scientific institutions will be opening their doors to the public all across Berlin and Potsdam-Telegrafenberg. On June 15th from 17-24h, events will cover the natural sciences, engineering, social and cultural studies, medicine and much more. Whether it’s in lectures, science shows or in hands-on experiments, there is much to discover and to learn at the Long Night of the Sciences. Here is some information on the programme at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK):
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Climate mitigation can – and must – include policies to assure food security

13/05/2019 – Policies that aim at limiting dangerous climate change need to account for food security issues. For the first time, tradeoffs between climate mitigation and food security have now been analyzed in a so-called multi-model assessment: many different computer simulations dealing with the same issue. The costs for food-smart climate policies are around 0.2% of global economic output in 2050, an international team of scientists. However, carelessly designed climate policy could increase the number of people at risk of hunger, at least compared to a baseline scenario, according to the study now published in Nature Sustainability. Compared to today, the number of people at risk of hunger is likely to sink in all scenarios studied. Yet if no climate policy at all would be implemented, the resulting risks for crop failure due to droughts and floods might also lead to hunger and costs. Including these impacts of extreme events is a challenge for future research.
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RD2 @ EGU

7-12/04/2019 - This year's General Assembly of the European Geosceinces Union (EGU) featured several sessions and presentations by scientists from the Climate Resilience Department at PIK. Ines Blumenthal co-convened a session on "Climate Change Education" and Christoph Müller convened a session on "Modeling agricultural systems under global change".
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Congratulations Dr. Weng!

10/12/2019 - Wei Weng successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled "Aerial river management for future water in the context of land use change in Amazonia" at the Humboldt University of Berlin.
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Congratulations Dr. Wang!

18/04/2019 - Xiaoxi Wang successfully defended his PhD thesis entitled "Political Economy and Land Use Dynamics: Quantifying Impacts of Land Governance on Deforestation, Food Prices and Trade Patterns" at the Humboldt University of Berlin.
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