German Federal Environment Minister Hendricks Visits PIK

06/03/2014 – German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks was briefed by scientists of the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) on current research developments. The minister, who has only held this office for several months, discussed recent findings and their impact on politics with PIK Director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber as well as other researchers. The focus of the talks was on the difficulties encountered in implementing climate policies.
German Federal Environment Minister Hendricks Visits PIK
PIK Director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber and German Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks. Photo: PIK

"Germany generally faces a high level of expectation when it comes to climate policy," Hendricks said with reference to other countries. "I believe that Germany has a moral and ethical obligation in this regard - we should act because we can." She also stressed "the high level of respect that research findings by PIK scientists receive". Schellnhuber said that his institute would be delighted to "lend support by providing advice." It would also like to contribute to "rendering the current debate more rational." Recently, this debate has been partly shaped by ideological influences, even though science has provided clear findings.

Stefan Rahmstorf, head of the research domain Earth System Analysis, presented recent developments in climate change research. He pointed out that if global warming were to exceed 1 to 3° Celsius, it would trigger a gradual but irreversible melting of Greenland’s ice sheets. The global mean temperature has already increased by about 0.8° Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. Hermann Lotze-Campen, head of the research domain Climate Impacts and Vulnerabilities, explained the consequences and risks of climate change in Germany. He also introduced the website,, which makes a broad range of data sets for Germany available to the general public. Ulrike Kornek from the research domain Sustainable Solutions presented policy options for achieving the two-degree target and with regard to the energy transition in Germany.

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