News

RD3 - Transformation Pathways
 

Transformation to wind and solar could be achieved with low indirect greenhouse gas emissions

12/08/2017 - Different low carbon technologies from wind or solar energy to fossil carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) differ greatly when it comes to indirect greenhouse gas emissions in their life cycle. This is the result of a comprehensive new study conducted by an international team of scientists that is now published in the journal Nature Energy. Unlike what some critics argue, the researchers not only found that wind and solar energy belong to the more favorable when it comes to life-cycle emissions. They also show that a full decarbonization of the global power sector by scaling up these technologies would induce only modest indirect greenhouse gas emissions – and hence not impede the transformation towards a climate-friendly power system.
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Climate and public health: Leopoldina Dialogue in Potsdam

12/05/2017 - Climate change related risks for public health are one of the most important challenges of today. However, the science communities on both sides of the fence have so far not sufficiently interacted to reflect the critical nexus of climate change and health. Taking the first mover advantage, a workshop of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) now brought together renowned scientists from climate sciences, health and medicine, psychology, environmental sciences, social sciences and economics. They will develop a publication offering stakeholder and decision-makers orientation on public health and climate policy.
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Leibniz Doctorate Award for Leonie Wenz

11/30/2017 - Leonie Wenz from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) receives the Leibniz Doctorate Award 2017 for her dissertation "Climate change impacts in an increasingly connected world". It deals with the consequences of global warming for economic production in the context of an increasingly globalized and interdependent world. "In addition to the scientific quality, which is reflected in several publications in renowned scientific journals, it is also of high social relevance - examplary for Leibniz research," says the Leibniz Association.
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Many PIK scientists at COP23 in Bonn

03/11/2017 - A number of experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) will take part in the climate summit COP23, taking place from November 6-17 in Bonn and presided by Fiji. PIK director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber will present the ten things you need to know about climate change, together with UNFCCC´s Patricia Espinosa, for example. At a side event with experts from the ETH Zürich, the ACT Alliance and Bread for the World, PIK´s chief economist Ottmar Edenhofer will discuss how to implement equity in the framework of the Paris Agreement.
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“We need you”: UN climate chief to Potsdam climate scientists

10/13/2017 - Hundreds of millions of people will be affected by climate change impacts and their implications for health or migration already within the next few decades, sectors that so far often get overlooked in this context. This is one of the insights of the Impacts World Conference organised by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany this week. About 500 scientists from 67 countries were gathering at the conference with the title “Counting the true costs of climate change” to push climate impact research to the next level by better integrating socio-economic factors. At the same time, the institute celebrated its 25th anniversary hosting this meeting of the global impacts research community, in the spirit of its mission followed for a quarter century: further advancing scientific progress and communicating insights to stakeholders.
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Online Course on Climate Change, Risks and Challenges now in English

10/01/2017 - How will climate change affect our lifes? What are the consequences? How can we mitigate climate change? These questions will be explored by scientists from leading German institutes during the interdisciplinary online course ClimateMOOC. The “Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)” is addressed to everybody interested and aims to impart a profound understanding of the climate system and climate change.
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Ending tax breaks after the diesel scandal

09/19/2017 - In response to the diesel scandal, the diesel tax advantage should be completely abandoned within the European Union (EU). In Germany, for example, diesel would then be about 20 cents per liter more expensive at the pump. In return, however, this measure would allow Germany but also France to reduce the emissions of CO2 and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by about 10 percent over five years. This is because diesel drivers in particular are much more sensitive to fuel price changes than previously assumed: a price hike of 20 cents per liter would lower their overall consumption by an estimated 14 percent.
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A Brief History of CO2 Emissions – new film online

Extending periods of changing weather, rising sea levels, shifting vegetation zones, even economic losses, social upheaval, and migration of people across the world – these are the effects of global CO2 emissions. The short film “A Brief History of CO2 Emissions” shows how greenhouse gases impact global warming – and our future. The animated short film of the Urban Complexity Lab and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) is now available online.
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Edenhofer ranked as Germany's top climate economist

09/13/2017 Amongst Germany's most important economists Ottmar Edenhofer once again scored excellently in a ranking done by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), one of the country's most influential newspapers. He turned out to be the only researcher investigating climate and environmental issues in the group of top economists. For the third time in a row he improved, moving up to the 11th rank this year.
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Potsdam Summer School explores the future of cities

09/04/2017 - The rapid pace of change around the world is presenting humankind and human environments with tremendous challenges. What solutions and strategies can we employ to future-proof our cities in the age of climate change? Experts from 30 countries will meet to discuss these issues with leading sustainability researchers at the 2017 Potsdam Summer School on 4 – 13 September. Their findings will be presented to the public in a memorandum on 13 September.
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Electricity consumption in Europe will shift under climate change

28.08.2017 - Rising temperatures due to greenhouse gas emissions will fundamentally change electricity consumption patterns in Europe. A team of scientists from Germany and the United States now analyzed what unchecked future warming means for Europe’s electricity demand: daily peak loads in Southern Europe will likely increase and overall consumption will shift from Northern Europe to the South. Further, the majority of countries will see a shift of temperature-driven annual peak demand from winter to summer by the end of this century. This would put additional strain on European power grids, the study now published in the renowned US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) suggests.
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Importance of solar energy underestimated by a factor of three

08/28/2017 - The growth of solar energy has been grossly underestimated in the results of the models of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Costs have dropped and infrastructures expanded much faster than even the most optimistic models had assumed. A new study led by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) - founded by Stiftung Mercator and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) - shows that in 2050, the percentage of photovoltaics in the global power supply could be three times higher than previously projected. According to the study, published in the journal Nature Energy, the share of solar energy will likely range between 30 and 50 percent, instead of 5 to 17 percent, as suggested before—even if the global demand for electricity continues to rise.
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From dry to wet: Rainfall might abruptly increase in Africa’s Sahel

06/07/2017 - Climate change could turn one of Africa's driest regions into a very wet one by suddenly switching on a Monsoon circulation. For the first time, scientists find evidence in computer simulations for a possible abrupt change to heavy seasonal rainfall in the Sahel, a region that so far has been characterized by extreme dryness. They detect a self-amplifying mechanism which might kick-in beyond 1.5-2 degrees Celsius of global warming – which happens to be the limit for global temperature rise set in the Paris Climate Agreement. Although crossing this new tipping point is potentially beneficial, the change could be so big, it would be a major adaptation challenge for an already troubled region.
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PIK ranked among top five climate think tanks worldwide

07/05/2017 - The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) was again ranked among the best climate think tanks worldwide. The new Climate Think Tank Ranking by the International Center for Climate Governance (ICCG) places PIK among the top five climate think tanks globally and among the top three of climate thinks tanks in Europe. Altogether the ranking considers 240 cutting-edge institutions working in the field of climate change economics and policy. Based on a solid quantitative methodology and analytical data, the ICCG lists non-university affiliated think tanks in an absolute and a standardized ranking – the first measures the think tank’s efficiency in per capita/researcher terms, whilst the latter measures performance regardless of their efficiency and hence size.
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Why Climate Policy matters for the G20 finance ministers’ agenda

06/30/2017 - In order to stay below the 2 °C guardrail set in the Paris Agreement, climate policy should be integrated with the G20 finance ministers’ agenda. Finance ministers should consider the merits of carbon pricing for sound fiscal policy and thereby stimulate investments in carbon-free infrastructure. “It is rational for G20 finance ministers to embrace climate policy, even if climate change is not their primary concern,” writes a team of authors led by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) in an article published in the new issue of the journal Nature Climate Change. In their article “Aligning climate policy with finance ministers’ G20 agenda”, Ottmar Edenhofer, Chief Economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Director of MCC, together with MCC Secretary General Brigitte Knopf and colleagues from other institutions argue that investments in fossil fuels have become more risky in the post-Paris world.
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Networking and training: PhD-Day at PIK

05/10/2017 - A whole day to get together, share experiences and train in different science related fields: The doctoral candidates of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research met for a conference recently to discuss their work and compare notes with each other on their theses. Next to new PhD candidates that introduced their work to their colleagues, the day focused on several inputs on topics like communication, time management, slide writing and presentation techniques. There are currently 73 young researchers from 18 countries working on their PhDs across all four PIK research domains.
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"This decision marks the end of the American century" - PIK and the Trump effect

06/09/2017 - Last week US President Donald Trump has announced that he will leave the Paris climate agreement. This step not only triggered a wave of indignation around the world, but also led to a media rush on the scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. They were able to assess the decision and the importance of the Paris agreement for climate protection.
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Carbon Pricing Report launched by leading economists

05/29/2017 - Meeting the world’s agreed climate goals in the most cost-effective way while fostering growth requires countries to set a strong carbon price. That’s the key conclusion of the High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices, presented in a major report today in Berlin by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz (Columbia University, New York) and Nicholas Stern (London School of Economics), along with commission members Mari Pangestu (Former Minister of Trade, Indonesia, today at Columbia University) and Ottmar Edenhofer (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research). The commission of 13 eminent economists from around the world has identified the range of prices on carbon needed to achieve the Paris Agreement’s climate stabilization goal. According to the scientists, the ambition should be reaching $40-$80 per tonne of CO2 by 2020 and $50-100 per tonne by 2030.
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Energy transition: start-up costs of power plants increase only moderately

04/05/2017 - While start-up costs of thermal power plants increase due to the energy transition, they remain on a rather low level. This is shown in a new study published in Nature Energy by researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin). Before power plants fueled by coal, gas or oil are able to generate electricity, they have to be started up to a minimum load level. This incurs costs related to additional fuel consumption as well as wear and tear.
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Kevin Simmons visits PIK

03/24/2017 - New strategies to deal with the growing risk of extreme weather events in the context of diminishing political support for environmental and climate issues in the US – to this Kevin M. Simmons recently gave a talk at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research entitled "Where are the Economists?".
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Climate policy brief for G20 finance ministers

03/17/2017 - In a policy brief for the G20 finance ministers, an expert group led by Ottmar Edenhofer proposes low-carbon growth stimulation through a steep increase in sustainable infrastructure, mobilizing sustainable finance, and adoption of carbon pricing. This would simultaneously achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, the experts argue. The Finance minister and central bankers of the world's leading economies meet in Baden-Baden, Germany, this weekend. Edenhofer is chief economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) as well as Director of the Mercator Research Institute for Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC).
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Sharing insights, shaping the future: PIK Research Days

02/10/2017 - This week, all scientists and staff of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) gathered for their annual roadshow of scientific achievements and discussions of future projects. Packed with presentations and debates, PIK´s Research Days are an unequalled opportunity to share insights and shape the future course of the institute.
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"Transformation now": Earth League meets in Potsdam

01/23/2017 - Some of the most distinguished international climate experts are gathering in Potsdam this week for a symposium of the Earth League, a self-organized initiative of leading researchers on global change. During two days, they will discuss how the Great Transformation towards sustainability can be brought about. The success of the Paris climate agreement aiming at completely decarbonizing our economies within a few decades is by no means ensured; fulfilling its objectives requires a ratcheting-up of ambitions through social, political and economic progress.
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New US President a risk for climate policy

01/20/2017 - Today, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as 45th President of the United States. "His populism as a business model will not prove viable in the long term," comments Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), Professor at Technische Universität Berlin.
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Consumption, climate change and agriculture

16/12/2016 - The holiday season is in full swing and many enjoy the opportunity to feast – or to make new year resolutions for a healthier diet. What we eat is more than a private decision – the agriculture and land use sector is one of the central players in ambitious climate change mitigation efforts. Yet, mitigation policies in agriculture may conflict with food security. A team of scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research analyzed the impacts on food prices under mitigation policies – targeting either incentives for producers or consumer preferences. They show that policy instruments to mitigate climate change with an educational approach to change food preferences can avoid unwanted impacts of climate change mitigation measures on food security.
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Edenhofer speaks at Tanner Lecture at Princeton University

Ottmar Edenhofer, Chief Economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), speaks at the distinguished Tanner Lecture at Princeton University. Free and open to the public, the Tanner Lectures On Human Values are conducted by leaders of their field. The lectures are considered to be among the most renowned lecture series in the United States, presented annually at each of nine renowned universities including Cambridge, Harvard, Michigan, Oxford, Princeton, Stanford, Utah, Yale, and the University of California, Berkeley.
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Potsdam Young Scientist Award for Max Franks

2016/11/28 – Max Franks from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) was honoured with the Potsdam Young Scientist Award. Mayor Jann Jakobs handed the prize to Franks at the Einstein Day of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities in appreciation of his outstanding achievements in the field of economic sciences.
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The Potsdam Institute at COP22 in Marrakech

11/09/2016 - Researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) are attending the current UN climate summit COP22 in Marrakesch from November 7 to 18. Amongst other events, PIK Director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber will speak at a side-event of the German Advisory Council on Global Change on the science-policy dialogue to reach Paris targets. PIK chief economist Ottmar Edenhofer will discuss the potential of the Paris Agreement in a side event with colleagues from Arizona State University, Harvard Kennedy School and others.
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Paris Agreement risks and opportunities: ADVANCE project presents findings in Brussels

10/24/2016 - To meet the climate stabilization targets of the Paris Agreement, the greenhouse gas emission reduction plans so far presented by nations worldwide have to be substantially improved. While renewables can almost fully decarbonize the power sector, aiming at a 1.5 degrees Celsius limit for global warming would require major additional efforts to also reduce emissions from demand sectors, for instance through a shift to electric and hydrogen vehicles. These are just some of the findings presented at the final meeting of the ADVANCE project this Monday in Brussels. The Acronym stands for “Advanced Model Development and Validation for Improved Analysis of Costs and Impacts of Mitigation policies”, an unprecedented research effort funded by the European Union.
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Edenhofer advises Volkswagen on sustainability issues

09/30/2016 - Volkswagen appointed a sustainability council - one of the members is Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The new body will meet for the first time at the end of October in Berlin. VW is selling more cars than any other corporation worldwide. The company is currently under pressure because of manipulations of diesel engines' emission measurements.
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