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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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Melting ice: Limiting global warming to 1.5°C could reduce sea level rise by 50 percent

05/05/2021 - If efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels are successful, the overall sea level rise caused by melting of ice would be effectively halved. This is the central finding of a new study by an international team of researchers – including Ronja Reese, Ricarda Winkelmann, Torsten Albrecht and Reinhard Calov from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research – which examines the land ice contribution to sea levels in the 21st century arising from the world’s glaciers and the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.
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Urgent Call for action after ‘Our Planet, Our Future’ Summit

04 /29/2021 - Nobel laureates and academics participating in the scientific sessions of the first Nobel Prize Summit have issued a statement calling for urgent action to protect our common future on planet Earth.
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Statement

PIK STATEMENT on the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court on the German climate protection law

04/29/2021 - In a ruling today, the Federal Constitutional Court obliged the German government to define more precisely the reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions for the period after 2030. Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change comments:
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Press Release

Fair climate policy could help reduce extreme poverty

04/27/2021 - Ambitious climate policies could help to reduce extreme poverty in developing countries. This is the result of a new study by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) – a result that is in contrast to wide-spread assumptions that climate change mitigation comes with a trade-off for poverty reduction. To turn climate policies and poverty reduction into a win-win situation for planet and people, a progressive redistribution of emission pricing revenues and a fair international burden sharing are key.
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Press Release

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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Biden's Climate Summit: leaders and journalists seek out PIK's expertise

04/24/2021 - In the past week, at the invitation of US-President Joe Biden, heads of states from 40 countries as well as scientists and civil society actors came together at the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate. In the run-up and the aftermath of the historic event, in which many states, including the US, announced new ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, countless media outlets sought out PIK's scientific expertise. In various interviews with German newspapers and TV stations, PIK director Ottmar Edenhofer put the intended goal as well as the results of the event into perspective, while PIK director Johan Rockström made an appearance at the Leaders Summit, when a new Netflix documentary detailing his scientific journey was previewed.
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Netflix film “Breaking boundaries” with PIK Director Johan Rockström and David Attenborough: preview at Biden climate summit

04/23/2021 – A preview of the feature documentary “Breaking boundaries: The science of our planet” that follows the scientific journey of PIK Director Johan Rockström was presented exclusively yesterday to World Leaders at President Biden’s virtual climate summit. It will be officially launching this summer.
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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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Wood instead of steel and concrete: Schellnhuber calls for a green Bauhaus movement

04/21/2021- Reconstructing our climate: On the occasion of the upcoming "Earth Day", Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director Emeritus of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, called for a green Bauhaus movement for the 21st century. He presented the "Building House of the Earth" initiative, which he co-founded, together with the architect Annette Hillebrandt and the President of the German Federal Environment Agency Dirk Messner at Berlin's Federal Press Conference today. Schellnhuber argues for the substitution of reinforced concrete with organic building materials and presented strategies for sustainable housing.
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Press Release

Solar panels are contagious - but in a good way: study

04/21/2021 - The number of solar panels within shortest distance from a house is the most important factor in determining the likelihood of that house having a solar panel, when compared with a host of socio-economic and demographic variables. This is shown in a new study by scientists using satellite and census data of the city of Fresno in the US, and employing machine learning. Although it is known that peer effects are relevant for sustainable energy choices, very high-resolution data combined with artificial intelligence techniques were necessary to single out the paramount importance of proximity. The finding is relevant for policies that aim at a broad deployment of solar panels in order to replace unsustainable fossil fueled energy generation.
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Less than one week to go: Nobel Prize Summit “Our Planet, Our Future” with Al Gore and the Dalai Lama

04/20/2021 - On the heels of President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate, the first Nobel Prize Summit “Our Planet, Our Future”, taking place April 26-28, will bring together Nobel Prize laureates and other esteemed leaders like Al Gore, Ursula von der Leyen, the Dalai Lama and many more to explore actions that can be achieved this decade to put the world on a path to a more sustainable, more prosperous future for all.
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Press Release

Climate change is making Indian monsoon seasons more chaotic

14/04/2021 - If global warming continues unchecked, summer monsoon rainfall in India will become stronger and more erratic. This is the central finding of an analysis by a team of German researchers that compared more than 30 state-of-the-art climate models from all around the world. The study predicts more extremely wet years in the future – with potentially grave consequences for more than one billion people’s well-being, economy, food systems and agriculture.
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Press Release

Climate change is making it harder to get a good cup of coffee

14/04/2021 - Ethiopia may produce less specialty coffee and more rather bland tasting varieties in the future. This is the result of a new study by an international team of researchers that looked at the peculiar effects climate change has on Africa's largest coffee producing nation. Their results are relevant both for the country's millions of smallholder farmers, who earn more on specialty coffee than on ordinary coffee, as well as for baristas and coffee aficionados around the world.
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"Safe and just corridor for people and planet": Earth Commission paper

Not transgressing the limits of the planet’s systems, being in line with the sustainable development goals: A new paper from a global team of scientists of the Earth Commission laid out its approach to defining a “safe and just corridor for people and planet” in a paper published in Earth’s Future. The “safe and just corridor” framework will assist the Earth Commission in quantifying what conditions for the planet’s systems avoid dangerous tipping points and ensure just sharing of risk, responsibilities and resources for all.
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Webinar: Tipping points for sustainability transitions

03/26/2021 - From the Brazilian rain forest to the Australian bushes and to the Antarctic glaciers, ecosystems are being destabilised by climate change and are at risk of reaching irreversible tipping points. Which way will things tip? How to manage tipping points as opportunities? Join our Climate Crisis webinar on March 30, leading to the Nobel Prize Summit 2021! With discussions by PIK Director Emeritus Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Tim Lenton (University of Exeter), Cameron Hepburn (University of Oxford), Marta Deldgado Peralta (Mexican Foreign Ministry); moderated by Oliver Morton (The Economist).
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The future of Lower Saxony: Expert report with PIK participation published

03/25/2021 - Climate change, advancing digitalization and demographic changes: These are just three examples of current social challenges for the future of Lower Saxony. On the initiative of the state government, an independent scientific commission with various researchers - including PIK researcher Hermann Lotze-Campen - has developed recommendations for the state. Today, the Commission Niedersachsen 2030 handed over its prepared report to the state government.
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Locked Houses, Fallow Lands: Climate change and migration in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, India

03/25/2021 - Rising temperatures, cloud bursts, and dengue outbreaks: Climate change acts as a risk modifier influencing migration conditions in the Indian Himalayan state of Uttarakhand. Employing the latest climate data, a new report created under the umbrella of the East African Peru India Climate Capacities (EPPIC) project examines how climate impacts such as changing rainfall patterns and increasing extreme weather events affect the state's mountain agriculture and migration processes. In today’s launch, researchers and panelists also discussed what policy measures are needed to manage migration flows and revitalize the economy.
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UN water prize for PIK researcher Zbigniew Kundzewicz

03/23/2021 - In a ceremony attended by UN Secetary General António Gutteres, a prestigious prize has been awarded to PIK researcher Zbigniew Kundzewicz from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany, and the Polish Academy of Sciences. It is one of this year's Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prizes for Water, sponsored by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the permanent mission of Saudi Arabia to the UN. Kundzewicz received the prize in the category “Surface Water”.
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State of the planet: This decade must bend the curves on emissions and biodiversity loss

03/22/2021 - Humanity is now the dominant force of change on our Earth – and human actions are threatening the resilience and stability of Earth’s biosphere, the wafer-thin veil around Earth where life thrives. This has profound implications for the development of civilizations, says an international group of researchers in a report published for the first Nobel Prize Summit, a digital gathering to be held in April to discuss the state of the planet in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Climate change affects global river flow

03/18/2021 - Human-induced climate change is likely a crucial driver of changes in the river flow at the global scale, a new study finds. To obtain these findings, an international team of scientists studied river water levels at more than 7000 monitoring stations between 1971 and 2010 and compared the observations with simulations from climate models – with unexpected results.
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Nobel Prize Summit ‘Our Planet, Our Future’: Registration Now Open

03/17/2021 - From Al Gore and Xiye Bastida to the Dalai Lama and Jennifer Doudna – these and many more renowned leaders will take part in the first Nobel Prize Summit, “Our Planet, Our Future”. The Summit will bring together Nobel Prize laureates and other committed minds in the sciences, policy, business, the youth movement, and the arts to explore actions that can be achieved this decade to put the world on a path to a more sustainable, more prosperous future for all. Registration is now open for the April 26-28 virtual summit, which is free and open to the public.
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When the flames are out, danger continues: Cascading effects of wildfires

03/15/2021 - After extreme weather events like droughts and wildfires, it often only takes small additional natural hazards like rainfall to trigger further disastrous cascading hazards, a new study finds. A team of scientists based in Potsdam and Berlin analyzed the devastating forest fires in Australia from 2019 to 2020, which - in their intensity and severity – are likely linked to human-made global warming. The researchers reveal that the following much needed rain caused severe further damage, gravely impacting both people and nature.
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Two CO2 prices are better than one - for now: suggestions for EU climate policy

03/09/2021 - A new policy mix with a CO2 price as the guiding instrument is needed to ensure that the European Union actually achieves its declared goal of climate neutrality by 2050. Three elements, two CO2 prices, one target - that's what economists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the Brussels-based think tank Bruegel are now proposing in a new policy paper. Since it is politically and institutionally challenging to quickly introduce an all-encompassing CO2 pricing scheme for all sectors, two different but linked pricing systems should initially run in parallel – and be supported by additional instruments. In the long term, these elements are to merge into a single comprehensive and robust CO2 price, with the single goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively and to limit climate risks to people and the economy.
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Press Release

Limiting water stress risks: irrigation management key for bioenergy production to mitigate climate change

03/08/2021 - To avoid a substantial increase in water scarcity, biomass plantations for energy production need sustainable water management, a new study shows. Bioenergy is frequently considered one of the options to reduce greenhouse gases for achieving the Paris climate goals, especially if combined with capturing the CO2 from biomass power plants and storing it underground. Yet growing large-scale bioenergy plantations worldwide does not just require land, but also considerable amounts of freshwater for irrigation – which can be at odds with respecting Earth’s Planetary Boundaries. Scientists now calculated in their to date most detailed computer simulations how much additional water stress could result for people worldwide in a scenario of conventional irrigation and one of sustainable freshwater use.
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Press Release

Gulf Stream System at its weakest in over a millennium

02/25/2021 - Never before in over 1000 years the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), also known as Gulf Stream System, has been as weak as in the last decades. This is the result of a new study by scientists from Ireland, Britain and Germany. The researchers compiled so-called proxy data – taken mainly from natural archives like ocean sediments or ice cores – reaching back many hundreds of years to reconstruct the flow history of the AMOC. They found consistent evidence that its slowdown in the 20th century is unprecedented in the past millennium – it is likely linked to human-caused climate change. The giant ocean circulation is relevant for weather patterns in Europe and regional sea-levels in the US; its slowdown is also associated with an observed ‘cold blob’ in the northern Atlantic.
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A constructive approach to climate protection: Potsdam Climate Council with PIK participation

02 / 22 / 2021 - Sociologist Fritz Reusswig of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) has been appointed to the new Climate Council of the state capital Potsdam. Hosted by Bernd Rubelt, Councillor for Urban Development, Construction, Economy and Environment, the members introduced themselves to the public today . The Climate Council acts as a mediator, expert and facilitator for successful climate protection and aims to create a broad debate and visibility in the state capital Potsdam.
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Winter weather, a polar front – and areas of drought: PIK's assessment of the current weather situation.

02/12/2021 - In January and February of 2021, parts of Europe, America and also Germany have experienced partly extreme winter weather. Nevertheless, there are widespread large areas of drought especially in Germany - PIK researchers Stephan Rahmstorf and Fred Hattermann on current climate-related weather changes.
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