Latest News

 
News

Tipping Points in the Earth System: Potsdam Young Scientist Award for Nico Wunderling

11/25/2022 - Nico Wunderling was awarded the Young Scientist Prize of the state capital Potsdam for his research on tipping points in the Earth system. Mayor Mike Schubert awarded the post-doctoral researcher of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) the prize based on his scientifically and socially relevant work. Wunderling's work on "Nonlinear dynamics and interactions of tipping elements in the Earth system" addresses some of the particularly consequential impacts of human-induced global warming. His findings have been picked up by media around the world - including Guardian, Spiegel and Zeit. Nico Wunderling completed his PhD at the University of Potsdam and at PIK with a position in an international doctoral program and a doctoral fellowship from the German Academic Scholarship Foundation.
Read More
News

COP27 world climate summit: “Results are not good enough”

11/22/2022 – A COP failure was avoided, but it was only a very moderate success for the climate. While 1.5 as a global goal is still there on paper, COP27 does not offer a concrete plan on how to achieve that. These are, in a nutshell, the assessments by PIK Directors Ottmar Edenhofer and Johan Rockström just after the 27th edition of the world climate summit COP concluded on Sunday in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Positive outcomes of the summit include a first-of-its-kind set up of a ‘loss and damage fund’ that shall aim at compensating climate impacts for developing countries.
Read More
News

Finding equity in climate mitigation finance: new study in 'Science'

11/18/2022- Considerations of equity in directing global financial flows for regional climate mitigation investments are critically important. It is in the leading journal 'Science' that team of researchers led by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and including the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) published a new study to help inform climate policy. The researchers explored how global investments could be divided among the countries in the world. The team applied a systematic approach with different equity and fairness considerations and estimated the “fair” financial flows between regions.
Read More
News

Potsdam researchers amongst top 1% most cited worldwide

11/14/2022 - For the fifth year in a row, researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) are among the top 1 percent of the globally most scientifically influential authors. The renowned "Highly Cited" ranking is published once a year by Clarivate Analytics' science platform Web of Science. The ranking is based on the number of times researchers are cited in other academics' works - one of the most important indicators of scientific relevance. Twelve PIK researchers are listed, just like last year, including the institute's directors, and from all research departments.
Read More
News

World climate summit COP27: Potsdam researchers highlight need for action

11/11/2022 - Climate policy-makers and experts are gathering in Sharm-el-Sheikh at the world climate summit COP27, amongst them researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The negotiations hosted by the United Nations also make media worldwide reach out to science.
Read More
News

Astronomical cycles changed the climate 200 million years ago

10/11/2022 - The celestial bodies of the solar system also influence the Earth's climate cycles. The question of how this astronomical "heartbeat" changed the Earth's climate in an early warm period was investigated by an international team of geo- and climate researchers. Using simulations and data from drill cores, they were able to prove that astronomical cycles - in addition to shifts in continental plates and fluctuating CO2 levels in the atmosphere - drove climate changes around 200 million years ago. These new data from past warm climate phases with higher greenhouse gas concentrations can also be interesting for improved forecasts. The results were published in the scientific journal PNAS.
Read More
News

Fossil fuels threaten health and life: Experts call for massive acceleration of the energy transition

11/03/2022 - The consequences of climate change are one of the greatest health risks of our time. This was stated by the Federal Minister of Health and the President of the German Medical Association together with PIK Director Johan Rockström and the organisation German Climate Change and Health Alliance (KLUG), that had invited to the Federal Press Conference. Together they advocate accelerating the energy transition in Germany and minimising greenhouse gas emissions. The background to this is a recently published report by the leading medical journal The Lancet, which highlights dependence on fossil fuels as a threat to health and life. The experts highlighted the fundamental importance of the report for Germany and what has to follow from it politically and in the German healthcare sector.
Read More
Press Release

Economic losses from hurricanes become too big to be offset by the US if warming continues

10/17/2022 - Hurricane damages can increase due to increasing global temperatures, caused by greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. Computer simulations of regional economic sectors and supply chains in the US now show that the resulting economic losses can at some point not be nationally offset under unabated warming. If too many factories and the like are hit by the hurricane and stop working, other countries will have to step in to provide the supply of goods, according to the scientists who did the study. The hurricane impacts under global warming will thus give the US an economic disadvantage, the warmer the more.
Read More
News

Register now for first Leibniz Network Integrated Earth System Research Conference

10/15/2022 - The first 'Integrated Earth System Research' Conference 2022, organized by the Leibniz Research Network carrying that same name, will take place in Potsdam on November 8th and 9th. Registration will close on 28 October. The meeting is dedicated to scientific advances towards a coherent understanding of the increasing human impacts on the Earth system, their societal consequences, and respective governance challenges. It brings together researchers from the natural, engineering, social sciences and the humanities for targeted dialogue and to intensify research collaboration.
Read More
Press Release

Targeted reimbursement: A just price for CO2

09/30/2022 - A price for CO2 can be both highly effective and socially just - if it's well designed. This is the result of a new study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC). At the heart of the idea: a targeted return of the revenues from CO2 pricing, especially to poorer people who need relatively large amounts of energy and can do little about it. So far, political fears of social hardship and possible uproar stand against the increase of CO2 prices.
Read More
News

Nature key for climate-safe future: New Exponential Roadmap Initiative for Natural Climate Solutions

09/19/2022 - The land sector, including agriculture, forestry, & natural land protection & restoration, must reach net zero annual emissions by 2030. This is the result of a new report by Conservation International, in partnership with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the WWF, and the Exponential Roadmap Initiative. The report pinpoints actions needed to turn the land sector from a greenhouse gas source today into a carbon sink by 2050 and lays out a new benchmark: the “Carbon Law for Nature".
Read More
News

Shifting Climate Zones: Sahel might get 50 % more rain by 2040

09/22/2022 - Climate change could turn one of Africa's driest regions into a very wet one by boosting the Monsoon circulation. New computer simulations show a significant future increase in seasonal rainfall in the Sahel under the current trend of global warming. A major increase in average rainfall might kick-in by 2040 already, which means that it is inevitable regardless of how future greenhouse gas emissions develop. Although crossing this new tipping point is potentially beneficial, it comes with substantial unknowns. The change could in fact be so big, it would be a major adaptation challenge for an already troubled region.
Read More
News

Ukrainian artist in residence at PIK

09/12/2022 - This year's artist in residence at the Potsdam Institute is from the Ukraine. Mariia Mytrofanova, a visual artist and performer from Odessa, was successful in the bidding for the three month residency from September until end of November 2022. During her stay, Mariia Mytrofanova will focus on the impacts of the war in Ukraine on the planet and the world's well-being - and try to implement scientific insights into her art.
Read More
Press Release

Risk of passing multiple climate tipping points escalates above 1.5°C global warming

09/09/2022 - Multiple climate tipping points could be triggered if global temperature rises beyond 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, according to a major new analysis published in the journal Science. Even at current levels of global heating the world is already at risk of passing five dangerous climate tipping points, and risks increase with each tenth of a degree of further warming. An international research team synthesised evidence for tipping points, their temperature thresholds, timescales, and impacts from a comprehensive review of over 200 papers published since 2008, when climate tipping points were first rigorously defined.
Read More
Press Release

Green hydrogen: Short-term scarcity, long-term uncertainty

08/09/2022 - Green hydrogen from renewable electricity and derived e-fuels are uniquely valuable for achieving climate neutrality. They can replace fossil fuels in industry or long-distance transport where direct electrification is infeasible. However, even if production capacities grow as fast as wind and solar power, the growth-rate champions, green hydrogen supply remains scarce in the short-term and uncertain in the long term, a new analysis published in the journal Nature Energy shows.
Read More
Press Release

Extreme temperatures fuel online hate speech

09/08/2022 - Temperatures above or below a feel-good window of 12-21 degrees Celsius (54-70 °F) are linked to a marked rise in aggressive online behaviour across the USA, a new study finds. Analysing billions of tweets posted on the social media platform Twitter in the USA, researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research found hate speech increasing across climate zones, income groups and belief systems for temperatures too hot or too cold. This indicates limits to adaptation to extreme temperatures, and sheds light on a yet underestimated societal impact of climate change: conflict in the digital sphere with implications for both societal cohesion and mental health.
Read More
Press Release

Towards food security despite climate crisis and war

09/01/2022 - To secure the world's food supply, a shift toward more plant-based and less animal-based foods is needed, researchers explain in a 'Policy Brief' published today. The Russian war of aggression on Ukraine has triggered a shortage of some agricultural products as well as gas-produced mineral fertilizers. As a result, food prices are rising. At the same time, droughts and flash floods threaten crops worldwide as the climate crisis intensifies. The researchers show the connections - and make concrete recommendations on how a food turnaround could be initiated.
Read More
Press Release

Living in timber cities could avoid emissions – without using farmland for wood production

08/30/2022 - Housing a growing population in homes made out of wood instead of conventional steel and concrete could avoid more than 100 billion tons of emissions of the greenhouse gas CO2 until 2100, a new study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research shows. These are about 10 percent of the remaining carbon budget for the 2°C climate target. Besides the harvest from natural forests, newly established timber plantations are required for supplying construction wood. While this does not interfere with food production, a loss of biodiversity may occur if not carefully managed, according to the scientists. The study is the first to analyze the impacts of a large-scale transition to timber cities on land use, land-use change emissions, and long-term carbon storage in harvested wood products.
Read More
Press Release

Extreme wildfires in Mediterranean countries provide lessons for climate-impacted Europe: Project FirEUrisk

08/15/2022 - The climate crisis is heating up forest fires in Europe. They are also increasingly occurring in northern regions, where they were previously rare in this severe form, researchers from the international FirEUrisk project have explained.
Read More
News

Experts to discuss 'tipping points' alliance: register now

08/03/2022 - Registration will close soon for an expert meeting next month discussing catastrophic climate 'tipping points' – and the power of positive tipping points to avert the climate crisis. The meeting, from 12-14 September at the University of Exeter is intended as a call to action to build an alliance that can improve early warnings and accelerate positive change. It is convened by Exeter, Earth Commission, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, World Climate Research Programme and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
Read More
Press Release

Less rain in the forest: Amazon even more vulnerable than previously thought

08/02/2022 - For every three trees dying from drought in the Amazon rainforest, a fourth tree – even though not directly affected – will die, too. In simplified terms, that’s what researchers have now found using network analysis to understand the complex workings of one of Earth’s most valuable and biodiverse carbon sinks. The regions most at risk of turning into savannah are located on the forest’s Southern fringes, where continuous clearing for pasture or soy has already been weakening the forest’s resilience for years.
Read More
Press Release

Considering catastrophe: high-impact, low-probability climate scenarios "dangerously underexplored"

08/02/22 - Researchers call for a new "Climate Endgame" agenda and say far too little work has gone into understanding the mechanisms by which rising temperatures might pose a "catastrophic" risk to society and humanity: For instance if temperature rises are worse than many predict or cause cascades of events we have yet to consider, or indeed both. The world needs to start preparing for the possibility of a "climate endgame", the authors argue in a perspective piece in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences PNAS. Assessing catastrophic risks is necessary in order to have a better chance of preventing them.
Read More
News

Climate Change in Southern Tanzania and Zanzibar

07/27/2022 – Climate change threatens the lives and livelihoods of over 61 million citizens in Tanzania living below the poverty line of $1.25 a day. Climate scientist Elena Surovyatkina, who leads monsoon research within the B-EPICC project at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, has observed the areas most vulnerable to climate change and lends a hand with long-term forecasts for the timing of the rainy season.
Read More
News

Climate Science and Archaelogy: Fall of Mayan metropolis related to drought

07/19/2022 - The political collapse of Mayapan, the Mayan capital on the Yucatán Peninsula in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries AD, was likely triggered by a drought that fueled social conflict, according to a new study published in Nature Communications. The findings demonstrate climate'S influence on societal stability even in ancient times.
Read More
Press Release

Increase in heatwaves in western Europe linked to changes in the jet stream

07/05/2022- Heatwaves over Europe have increased three to four times faster than in the rest of the northern mid-latitudes like e.g. the US or Canada, a new study finds. An international team of scientists looked at observational data from the past 40 years and showed, for the first time, that this rapid increase is linked to changes in the atmospheric circulation. Large-scale winds at 5 to 10km height, the so-called jet stream, are changing over Eurasia. Periods during which the jet stream is split into two branches – so called double jet states – have become longer lasting. These double jet states explain almost all of the upward trend in heatwaves in western Europe, and around 30 percent over the larger European domain.
Read More
Press Release

"For a secure climate future": High-ranking guests at 30 years celebration of Potsdam Institute

06/30/2022 - High-ranking guests attended the 30th anniversary celebration of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) - from federal and Brandenburg politicians to a Nobel laureate. The institute, founded in 1992 and now employing a good 400 people, is needed more today than ever before in the worsening climate crisis, speeches said. The PIK Board of Directors thanked politicians as well as the scientists and all employees of PIK for their part in the success story.
Read More
News

PIK scientist Barbora Šedová awarded with outstanding dissertation of the year

07/01/2022 - PIK scientist Barbora Šedová's doctoral thesis has been recognised by the University of Potsdam as the outstanding dissertation of the year 2021.
Read More
News

How global trade can help the climate

06/24/2022 - The climate policy potential of international trade rules agreed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) still has room for improvement. Policymakers should change some rules - and make greater use of others, according to an article now published in the leading scientific journal Science by experts from twelve countries, including researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
Read More
Press Release

How taxing the rich can help everyone

06/23/22 - Taxing rich peoples’ gains from capital can help reduce inequality while keeping up overall prosperity – yet only on two conditions. First, the revenues from taxation must be invested into public infrastructure such as schools, public transport, or sustainable energy grids. Second, it must be fairly possible to replace machines by labour. This is the outcome of a mathematical modelling study by a team of economists including US Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
Read More
News

Emissions Trading for building and transport - new Ariadne analyses

06/22/2022 - The extension of the European Emissions Trading to the buildings and transport sector (ETS2) as a core element of the European Fit for 55 package has been the subject of heated political debate in the EU Parliament. Only recently, a compromise on ETS reform was reached. Two new studies by the Ariadne Project with the participation of PIK examine how fairness and solidarity can be preserved in the ETS 2 design.
Read More