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Sabine Gabrysch appointed to Advisory Council of the Federal Government

15.10.2020 - The Federal Cabinet has appointed new members to the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). Six of the nine Advisory Council members were appointed for the first time, including Sabine Gabrysch from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
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"Climate has reached a global crisis point": PIK Director Joins TED Countdown

10/15/2020 - “We Can Change Climate Change” – this is the slogan of TED Countdown, a year-long initiative by scientists, artists, government officials and activists to collectively develop concrete ideas for a cleaner future. PIK Director Johan Rockström contributed with an engaging and energizing video statement.
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Biggest CO2 drop: Real-time data shows Covid-19’s massive impact on global emissions

10/14/2020 - While the ongoing Corona pandemic continues to threaten millions of lives around the world, the first half of 2020 saw an unprecedented decline in CO2 emissions – larger than during the financial crisis of 2008, the oil crisis of 1979, or even World War II. An international team of researchers has found that in the first six months of this year, 8.8 percent less carbon dioxide were emitted than in the same period in 2019 – a total decrease of 1551 million tonnes. The groundbreaking study not only offers a much more precise look at COVID-19’s impact on global energy consumption than previous analyses. It also suggests what fundamental steps could be taken to stabilize the global climate in the aftermath of the pandemic.
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Remembering Mario Molina, Nobel Prize-winning chemist and MIT Institute Professor Emeritus

10/12/2020 - It is with deepest sorrow that the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) is grieving for Professor Mario Molina who died on 7 October at the age of 77.
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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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Larger part of Amazon rainforest at risk of tipping

10/05/2020 A larger part of the Amazon rainforest than previously thought is at risk of crossing a tipping point where it could become a savanna-type ecosystem, according to a new study. The research, based on computer models and data analysis, is published by a team of scientists including Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in the journal Nature Communications. Rainforests are very sensitive to changes that affect rainfall for extended periods. If rainfall drops below a certain threshold, areas may shift into a savanna state.
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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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Ottmar Edenhofer among Germany's most influential economists

09/24/2020 - In the ranking of Germany’s most influential economists published by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Ottmar Edenhofer is once again among the 'Top Ten' – and once more, he is the only climate economist among Germany's top tier economic researchers. The director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) scored particularly highly because of his scientific citations with which other researchers in the scientific community refer to his work. Ernst Fehr from the University of Zurich landed at the top of the ranking followed by Clemens Fuest from the ifo Munich and Marcel Fratzscher from the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin, on second and third place, respectively.
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Stability Check on Antarctica Reveals High Risk for Long-Term Sea-Level Rise

09/23/2020 - The warmer it gets, the faster Antarctica loses ice – and much of it will then be gone forever. Consequences for the world’s coastal cities and cultural heritage sites would be detrimental, from London to Mumbai, and from New York to Shanghai. That’s what a team of researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam University and New York’s Columbia University has found out in their new study, published in Nature (cover story), on how much warming the Antarctic Ice Sheet can survive. In around one million hours of computation time, their unprecedentedly detailed simulations delineate where exactly and at which warming levels the ice would become unstable and eventually melt and drain into the ocean. They find a delicate concert of accelerating and moderating effects, but the main conclusion is that unmitigated climate change would have dire long-term consequences: If the global mean temperature level is sustained long enough at 4 degrees above pre-industrial levels, Antarctic melting alone could eventually raise global sea levels by more than six meters.
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PIK's 2020 Resident Artist: Sheila Hayman

09/23/2020 - Renowned British filmmaker and author Sheila Hayman is this year’s Artist in Residence at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The three-month residency is made possible by a cooperation between the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program (BKP), the Department of Culture and Museums of the City of Potsdam, and PIK.
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Towards a climate resilient Europe: EU Mission Board with Johan Rockström releases report

09/22/2020 Turning the urgent challenge of adapting to climate change into an opportunity to make Europe resilient, climate-prepared and just – this is the aim of the EU Mission Board report that has been released today, in the course of the European Research and Innovation Days 2020. Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), took part in the Mission Board to support strengthening the role of science in the areas of adaptation and resilience and the associated social and technological transformation processes.
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Indian monsoon can be predicted better after volcanic eruptions

09/18/2020 - Large volcanic eruptions can help to forecast the monsoon over India – the seasonal rainfall that is key for the country’s agriculture and thus for feeding one billion people. As erratic as they are, volcanic eruptions improve the predictability, an Indian-German research team finds. What seems to be a paradox is in fact due to a stronger coupling between the monsoon over large parts of South and South-East Asia and the El Niño phenomenon after an eruption. Combining data from meteorological observations, climate records, computer model simulations, and geological archives such as tree-rings, corals and ice-cores from past millennia of Earth history, the researchers found that a synchronization of the monsoon with the strongest mode of natural climate variability, the El Niño, makes it easier to anticipate the strength of seasonal rainfall in the Indian subcontinent.
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Cold Summers, Shrinking Monsoon Season: How Record Artic Warming is Changing the Climate All Over the World

Arctic warming may be one of the reasons India´s monsoon season will be shorter this year – the early withdrawal in the beginning of October was predicted by a unique forecasting method by Elena Surovyatkina from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
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NASA-led research on sea-level rise with PIK contribution: Global intercomparison of projected mass loss from ice sheets

09/18/2020 In an international effort, 60 researchers including several researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) have produced extensive analyses of Antarctica’s and Greenland’s future mass loss.
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Economist Edenhofer on the climate proposals of EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

09/ 16/2020 - In her State of the Union address EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced today that the EU would be subject to more stringent climate protection conditions. The new goal is to reduce CO2 emissions in the European Union by 2030 to 55 percent below the 1990 level.
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Facebook launches Climate Science Information Center with scientific contributions by PIK

09/15/2020 – Facebook, a major global social media channel, starts a Climate Science Information Center featuring scientific contributions from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and other leading institutions. PIK will contribute alongside the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Marine and Polar Research (AWI), and Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD). Since long, Potsdam researchers provide scientific information to stakeholders across economic sectors and across the political spectrum, as well as to media and a broader public.
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Climate Change triggers migration – particularly in middle-income and agricultural countries

09/14/2020 - Environmental hazards affect populations worldwide and can drive migration under specific conditions. Changes in temperature levels, increased rainfall variability, and rapid-onset disasters, such as tropical storms, are important factors as shown by a new study led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Environmental migration is most pronounced in middle-income and agricultural countries but weaker in low-income countries, where populations often lack resources needed for migration. The findings make it possible to identify geographical regions that may be especially susceptible to migration movements in the future.
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"Now is the time to turn these words into deeds"

09/11/2020 - Germany's Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier, today made a far-reaching proposal for increased climate protection. By introducing a "Charter for Climate Neutrality and Economic Power" as well as a 20-point program the Minister wants to ensure a broad social consensus on the matter.
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Unraveling 66 million years of climate history from ocean sediments: study in Science

09/10/2020 - Researchers have analyzed data from deep-sea sediments in order to reconstruct Earth’s climate with an unprecedented temporal resolution. To achieve this, the international team, led by Dr. Thomas Westerhold of MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences at the University of Bremen and Dr. Norbert Marwan of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), compiled and analyzed a comprehensive dataset obtained from sediment cores from the ocean floor. Innovative statistical methods for studying complex dynamical systems were applied revealing fundamental climate states. They show the deterministic nature of climate changes over very long periods of time. The team’s new climate reference curve have been published in the prestigious journal Science.
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Reversing the Loss of Biodiversity: Researchers Present Ambitious Plan

09/10/2020 - The rapid extinction of animal and plant species could be reversed by 2050 – by doing two things: Investing in better land-use management and transforming agriculture and the food industry. A new study by an international team of scientists, including Hermann Lotze-Campen, Alexander Popp, and Florian Humpenöder from the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research, lays out what it will take to reverse the current alarming trends of biodiversity loss – without endangering other important Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations General Assembly.
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Historical climate fluctuations in Central Europe overestimated due to tree ring analysis: Present warming is extraordinary

09/10/2020 - Tree rings exaggerate, a team of researchers finds. Scientists deduce historical climatic conditions for the past hundreds of years from the width of the annual growth rings of trees. Previous temperature reconstructions from the annual tree rings are however to some extent inaccurate, according to a new study published in Climate Dynamics. Tree rings overstate the natural climatic variations of past centuries. A comparison of data from church and city archives shows that the climate has developed much more evenly. This in turn provides further evidence of how extraordinary modern human-made warming really is.
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Shrinking Home Lands: How Island and Archipelagic States address climate migration

09/04/2020 – Small Island and archipelagic States are amongst those who feel climate change impacts the earliest and the severest. Their livelihoods at risk, people face the decision to move to safer grounds. A new report by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research for the German Cooperation agency GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) has now scrutinised policy responses by the States to migration in the context of climate change and provides policy recommendations.
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Edenhofer awarded with most prestigious environmental prize

09/02/2020 - 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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PIK director Johan Rockström elected to German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

08/28/2020 - Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and internationally recognized scientist on global sustainability issues, was elected member of the Leopoldina in the Geosciences section. The Leopoldina provides policymakers and the public with science-based advice; its members already include PIK Director Ottmar Edenhofer and Director Emeritus Hans Joachim Schellnhuber.
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Heating our climate damages our economies – study reveals greater costs than expected

08/19/2020 - Rising temperatures due to our greenhouse gas emissions can cause greater damages to our economies than previous research suggested, a new study shows. Scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Mercator Research Institute for Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) took a closer look at what climate change does to regions at the sub-national level, such as US states, Chinese provinces or French départements, based on a first-of-its-kind dataset by MCC. If CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels are not reduced rapidly, a global warming of 4°C until 2100 can make that regions lose almost 10% of economic output on average and more than 20% in the tropics.
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Climate Stabilization: Lessons from the Corona Crisis

08/17/2020 - The dynamics of the current COVID-19 pandemic could offer valuable insights for the efforts to mitigate climate change. Highlighting the parallels between the global health and the climate emergency, a team of researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) has analyzed what policy makers and citizens can learn from the corona outbreak and how to apply it to the global effort of reducing CO2 emissions. Their proposal: A Climate Corona Contract that unites the younger and the older generations.
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“One Health”: PIK researcher Sabine Gabrysch appointed to BMZ advisory council

08/14/2020 - What can we learn from the current Corona pandemic, especially with regards to the relationship between people and the planet? How are human and animal health, environment, climate and biodiversity linked? The advisory council ‘One Health’, recently established by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), looks into such questions – and Sabine Gabrysch, head of PIK´s Research Department on Climate Resilience and Charité Professor, has been appointed as a member.
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