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RD3 - Transformation Pathways
 

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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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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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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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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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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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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Homeschooling: Researchers support online learning with explanatory videos

01/04/2020 - As schools are closed due to the corona crisis, the Potsdam Institute offers special online lectures for children and young people as a small contribution to learning at home. Explanatory videos conveying some basics about the climate are intended to provide inspiration for the many hours spent at the desk at home instead of in the classroom. The films are created by the scientists themselves - a little handout from the research team in home office to young viewers in home schooling.
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Eurogroup Finance Ministers debate with Edenhofer

17/02/2020 - The Eurogroup Finance Ministers invited climate economist Ottmar Edenhofer to speak at their Brussels meeting this Monday. They expect him to “bring a fresh perspective” based on his “important contributions to the research and public debate on the economics of the climate transition”. Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, will talk about environmental taxation that could help both climate stabilization and social equity.
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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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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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Just 15 years of post-Paris emissions to lock in 20 cm of sea level rise in 2300: study

5.11.2019 - Unless governments significantly scale up their emission reduction efforts, the 15 years’ worth of emissions released under their current Paris Agreement pledges alone would cause 20 cm of sea-level rise over the longer term, according to new research published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
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PIK and MCC deliver detailed assessment of German climate package

14/10/2019 - The climate protection programme adopted by the Federal Government last week, which is intended to limit greenhouse gas emissions especially in the transport and heating sectors, is unlikely to be sufficient to achieve the 2030 climate targets. Policymakers need to make four particular adjustments: first, they need to raise the level of ambition for the carbon price; second, they need to improve social balance; third, they need to develop further its integration with the EU level; and fourth, they need to introduce an effective monitoring process. This is the core message of a detailed assessment of the climate package, presented by the Berlin climate research institute MCC (Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
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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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Gunnar Luderer appointed Professor for Global Energy Systems Analysis at TU Berlin

02/09/2019 - Dr Gunnar Luderer, doctor of physics and atmospheric scientist, has been appointed to the newly created Chair of Global Energy Systems Analysis at the Technical University of Berlin. The chair is jointly funded by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Institute for Energy Technology at the Technical University of Berlin. Prof Luderer will work primarily in the field of energy system transformation and the worldwide transformation towards sustainable energy systems.
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PIK and MCC contribute to Climate Policy Special Report for German government

12.07.2019 - The special report, which the German Chancellor received from the “Five Sages” of the German Council of Economic Experts today, is based to a significant extent on a comprehensive analysis by the Berlin climate research institute MCC (Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). On Thursday, the so-called Climate Cabinet, with the leaders of the chancellery and six ministries, will discuss a fundamental realignment of climate mitigation measures based on the special report. MCC and PIK Director Ottmar Edenhofer and the Chairman of the Council of Experts, Christoph Schmidt, will present their proposals as scientific advisers at the meeting in the presence of the German Chancellor.
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