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RD3 - Transformation Pathways
 
Press Release

Less trade-offs, more synergies: New pathway to mitigate climate change and boost progress on UN Sustainable Development Goals

A world that combats climate change while simultaneously improving on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is possible, a new study finds. Scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the German Development Institute have developed a new integrated strategy that combines ambitious climate action with dedicated policies for development, food and energy access, global and national equity, and environmental sustainability. It sheds new light on bottlenecks, but also synergies for boosting progress towards climate and sustainable development targets.
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Science commentary: Addressing the human cost of displacement in a changing climate

23/06/2021 - In a policy forum contribution just published in a special edition of the renowned journal Science, Jacob Schewe, co-lead of PIK´s FutureLab “Security, Ethnic Conflicts and Migration” and colleagues from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), ETH Zürich and IIASA Vienna discuss the hidden economic impacts of disaster- and climate-related displacement. They argue for locally led displacement risk assessments that account for the potential economic cost of displacement to guide decision making.
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Press Release

Making climate impact science more accessible to the public: ISIpedia launch

Decision-makers on all levels are provided with a new tool to tackle the climate challenge. Data and explanations on global warming impacts – from floods to droughts - are made more accessible to the public by a team of 12 international research institutes. Today, they launch the online portal ISIpedia which features science explained by the scientists, breaking down global studies to the country-level, for both adaptation and mitigation planning.
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Tackling biodiversity and climate crises together: First joint IPCC & IPBES report with PIK contribution

Two Leading UN science organizations, one report: For the first time, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) have joined forces and published an analysis that looks at the interaction of climate change and biodiversity loss. Their key result: Neither will be successfully resolved unless both are tackled together. This is the message of a workshop report, published by 50 of the world’s leading biodiversity and climate experts, amongst them Alexander Popp from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
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Limiting climate risks for finance: Central banks and science publish scenarios

06/07/2021 - To improve climate related risk management in the financial sector and facilitate a smooth transition toward a sustainable economy, over 90 central banks and financial market supervisors organized in the Network for Greening the Financial System joined forces with science. Together, researchers and financial experts now published an updated set of scenarios of an orderly transition, delayed transition, and climate policy failure. They show how early greenhouse gas emissions reductions can minimize both physical and financial risk. In contrast, delayed action or no action would inevitably drive up costs in the medium to long term. The analysis provides sectoral and regional detail to help financial institutions adapt their investment strategies.
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ECCA21 Session on climate impact and adaptation co-organised by Christopher Reyer

31/05/2021 - Christopher Reyer (RD2), together with colleagues from ECDPM, IIASA and CRS organised a Webinar on '360° view of climate impacts: experiencing the future to plan adaptation', within the framework of the European Climate Change Adaptation (ECCA) Conference 2021. ECCA is co-organised by the three H2020 projects CASCADES, RECEIPT and SINCERE as well as JPI Climate and the EU Commission. The session presented an integrated view of climate impacts which allowed participants to experience the complexity of cross-border and cross-sectoral climate impacts in an innovative 'policy simulation exercise'.
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Few realistic scenarios left to limit global warming to 1.5°C

05/14/2021 - Of the over 400 climate scenarios assessed in the 1.5°C report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), only around 50 scenarios avoid significantly overshooting 1.5°C. Of those only around 20 make realistic assumptions on mitigation options, for instance the rate and scale of carbon removal from the atmosphere or extent of tree planting, a new study shows. All 20 scenarios need to pull at least one mitigation lever at "challenging" rather than "reasonable" levels, according to the analysis. Hence the world faces a high degree of risk of overstepping the 1.5°C limit. The realistic window for meeting the 1.5°C target is very rapidly closing.
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Hydrogen instead of electrification? Potentials and risks for climate targets

05/06/2021 - Hydrogen-based fuels should primarily be used in sectors such as aviation or industrial processes that cannot be electrified, finds a team of researchers. Producing these fuels is too inefficient, costly and their availability too uncertain, to broadly replace fossil fuels for instance in cars or heating houses. For most sectors, directly using electricity for instance in battery electric cars or heat pumps makes more economic sense. Universally relying on hydrogen-based fuels instead and keeping combustion technologies threatens to lock in a further fossil fuel dependency and greenhouse gas emissions.
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The new EU climate target will increase carbon prices and could phase out coal power in Europe as early as 2030

04/27/2021 - Tightening the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS) in line with the EU Green Deal would dramatically speed up the decarbonization of Europe's power sector – and likely cause a demise of the coal industry. In a new study a team of researchers from Potsdam, Germany has quantified the substantial shifts Europe's electricity system is about to undergo when the newly decided EU climate target gets implemented. Higher carbon prices, the authors show, are not only an inevitable step to cut emissions – they will also lead much faster to an inexpensive electricity system powered by renewable energies.
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“World’s top climate scientists”: many PIK researchers feature prominently in Reuters ranking

04/27/2021 - According to a new list published by Reuters, 8 of the top 10 German climate researchers are based at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The “hot list”, compiled in cooperation with the British-based technology company Digital Sciences, is a combination of three rankings detailing the number of research papers scientists have published on topics related to climate change, the field citation ratio to measure the influence of scientists’ work among their peers, and the attention the scholars and their research have garnered in the media. While the methodology is not perfect, depending on specific key words, it certainly is interesting.
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Girls' Day gives schoolgirls from all over Germany an insight into climate impact research

04/22/2021 – On Girls' Day - 'Future Prospects for Girls' this year, schoolgirls were once again given an insight into the work at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) to discover career prospects in science. Due to the pandemic, this year's Girls' Day took place digitally, allowing for the first time girls from all over Germany to get to know PIK instead of usually just girls from Potsdam and Berlin. Climate researchers Ronja Reese and Constanze Werner talked about their work and answered everything the girls wanted to know in an open question session.
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Online European Geosciences Union 2021 with strong PIK participation

04/21/2021 - One of the largest scientific meetings worldwide, the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly, virtually brings together geoscientists from all over the planet – amongst them many scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). From 19 to 30 April 2021, the EGU covers all disciplines of the Earth, planetary and space sciences and provides a forum where scientists, especially early-career researchers, can present their work and discuss their ideas with experts in all fields of geoscience.
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FutureLab - Security, Ethnic Conflicts and Migration

FutureLab - Security, Ethnic Conflicts and Migration
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Press Release

Coal and COVID-19: How the pandemic is accelerating the end of fossil power generation

02/08/2021 - COVID-19 has not only caused a temporary drop in global CO2 emissions, it has also reduced the share of power generated by burning coal – a trend that could in fact outlast the pandemic. This is the key result of a new study by a team of economists based in Potsdam and Berlin that looked at COVID-19's impact on the energy system and demand for electricity. Their findings show that the pandemic, while putting a terrible toll on people’s lives and the economy, has also opened a window of opportunity to make this current trend of decreasing coal use irreversible: Supported by the right climate policy measures, power sector emissions could decline more rapidly than previously thought.
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Climate change projected to double the number of people facing extreme drought

01/11/2021 - If current rates of global warming continue, up to 8 percent of the world's population – twice as many people as today – could be threatened by extreme droughts by the end of the 21st century. This is the key finding of a comprehensive study by an international team of scientists, including Jacob Schewe, Anne Gädecke, and Dieter Gerten from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Without effective climate change mitigation and resource maintenance, the authors argue, global water shortages could have disastrous ramifications.
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Press Release

CO2 pricing and financial transfers: small changes can have a huge effect on climate equity

12/09/2020 - Global greenhouse-gas emission reductions could be achieved in a fair and thrifty way by surprisingly small variations of well-known policies. This is shown by a team of economists in a quantitative study now published in Nature. Differentiated CO2 prices in different countries combined with moderate financial transfers from advanced to developing countries would do the job. These changes would be most efficient in achieving fair burden sharing and at the same time keep overall costs in check, the researchers find. This could solve the epic trilemma to unite cost-efficiency, national sovereignty and fair effort-sharing.
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New study: CO2 price of 100 euros could find acceptance - if the revenue is refunded

12/07/2020 - In January a CO2 price for the traffic and heating sector will be introduced in Germany for the first time. Initially it will amount to 25 euros per ton of CO2, but will rise to 55 euros by 2025. But in order to meet climate targets by 2030 significantly higher prices are necessary.
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”Highly Cited Scientists 2020” ranking: success for PIK researchers

11/18/2020 – The “Highly Cited Scientists” list once again features a number of PIK researchers. Twelve of them rank in the top 1% by citations for field and publication year in the 2020 Web of Science citation index, which is an indicator of scientific relevance. It is a remarkable success that the listed researchers are almost equally distributed across PIK departments and natural and social sciences. Many of them scored well in the “cross field” category of the ranking. The two Directors on the list, representing two important fields – Johan Rockström with Earth System Science and Ottmar Edenhofer with Economy –, are confirming the overarching result: high level transdisciplinary research earns international recognition.
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Press Release

Small area, great effect: Peatland, the clever carbon capturer

10/09/2020 - Peatland rewetting is a greatly underestimated means to stabilize our climate, a new study shows. While the public debate often focuses on forests, global peatlands in fact store about twice as much carbon. Yet, once drained, peatlands emit large amounts of greenhouse gases, currently about double of what global air traffic emits each year. For the first time, a team led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) included peatland emissions, based on computer simulations, in quantitative projections of how global warming can be kept below 2° Celsius. They find that current mitigation pathways do not accurately consider peatlands. To reach climate stabilization targets, peatland protection and restoration must thus be increased – for instance in the current EU agricultural policy reform.
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United Nations: "Protect People and Planet"

09/25/2020 - As the United Nations celebrate their 75th anniversary with a high-level week of the 75th General Assembly, they opened with a full day high-level meeting held under the banner “The Future We Want, the UN We Need” on 21 September. Global governance is a key topic and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) - and namely its Director Johan Rockström - has been involved on several levels. He particularly participates via video in a Heads of State event "Protect People and Planet" on 28 September.
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Transformation Pathways

Climate Risks and Sustainable Development
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Press Release

An Economic Case for the UN Climate Targets: Early and strong climate action pays off

07/13/2020 - 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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Shaping the energy transition together: Kopernikus project Ariadne launched

07/03/2020 - From our energy supply to the industry and the Paris climate targets, from individual sectors to the big picture: a network of leading research institutions is now starting an unparalleled research process focused on shaping the German energy transition. The Ariadne project aims at improving our understanding of the impact of different policy instruments in order to develop sound strategies for change. From the very beginning, a comprehensive dialogue between decision-makers from politics, business, and civil society will be a core part of the project.
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Climate research informing global finance: Scenarios can serve as yardstick for central banks’ risk assessment

06/24/2020 – Stability is at the core of central banks’ objectives. To assess climate destabilization risks, major central banks and supervisors plan to utilise climate scenarios developed by a team of researchers led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. These scenarios will inform the climate stress tests that central banks like the Bank of England or the Banque de France are planning to apply to the financial institutions they regulate. The work was commissioned by the “Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System” (NGFS), a group of 66 central banks and supervisors around the globe which aims to develop climate risk management in the financial sector.
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Berlin Climate and Security Conference Kicks Off Major New Risk Assessment

06/23/2020 - Climate destabilization increases risks to peace and security - to address these risks, scientists and policy-makers are teaming up to find solutions. The Berlin Climate and Security Conference (BCSC) is the global meeting place for leaders from governments, international organisations, the scientific community, the private sector and civil society to explore how climate change is impacting peace and security—and what action the international community can take to tackle climate-fragility risks. This year the high-level event, which features statements from over 14 foreign ministers, heads of state, and UN chiefs, explores the steps necessary to ensure we build a climate- and conflict-sensitive post-Covid world. It is organised by the German Federal Foreign Office, in partnership with adelphi and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
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Museum für Naturkunde & PIK launch Summer School for Climate Knowledge

06/19/2020 - At the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, interested guests can use the summer holidays to strengthen their knowledge of the climate and its effects - and young people from all over Germany can take part online. The summer school is taking place in cooperation with researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), and for the first time digitally. The easy-to-understand lectures and workshops complement each other, but can also be attended individually.
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Excellency rewarded

June 2020 - The research of two young scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has recently been awarded for its excellence: Xiaoxi Wang wins China Council Scholarship, Andrew McConnell receives prize from Oxford's Martin School.
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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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From artificial meat to fine-tuning photosynthesis: Food System Innovation – and how to get there

19/05/2020 - Food production has always shaped the lives of humans and the surface of the Earth. Be it plough or refrigerator, time and again innovations have transformed the ways we grow, process, and consume food over the last millennia. Today, with almost 40 per cent of all land on Earth used for food production, the food system massively impacts climate and environment – from nitrogen flows to water use, from biodiversity to greenhouse gas emissions. In a new study published in the journal NatureFOOD, an international team of researchers has now assessed and categorised key innovations with a potential to transform the food system, from artificial meat or seafood to biofortified crops or improved climate forecasts – and established what is most needed to make them succeed.
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