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New hope for the climate: Edenhofer & Rockström on Biden US Presidency

2021/ 01/ 26 - The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) puts hope in the start of Joe Biden's presidency after climate topics have been rather neglected for the last four years of from US side. PIK Director Ottmar Edenhofer explores the concept of carbon pricing as a possible tool for the new US administration and Johan Rockström, Director of PIK along with Ottmar Edenhofer, signed a global ambition letter together with known CEO'S - from Amazon to Ford Motor Company - and world climate leaders, calling on US President Joe Biden to be the climate leader that science demands.
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Deeper cooperation between PIK and BMZ

01/20/2021 - During today's kick-off event of the "Berlin Insights Series on Climate Change and Development", Johan Rockström from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and State Secretary Martin Jäger from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which marks the beginning of a deeper cooperation between PIK and BMZ.
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Press Release

The idea of an environmental tax is finally gaining strength

20/01/2021 - An extra 290,000 pounds a year for lighting and cleaning because smog darkens and pollutes everything: with this cost estimate for the industrial city of Manchester, the English economist Arthur Cecil Pigou once founded the theory of environmental taxation. In the classic "The Economics of Welfare", the first edition of which was published as early as 1920, he proved that by allowing such "externalities" to flow into product prices, the state can maximise welfare. In 2020, exactly 100 years later, the political implementation of Pigou's insight has gained strength, important objections are being invalidated, and carbon pricing appears more efficient than regulations and bans according to a study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC). The study was published in the renowned journal International Tax and Public Finance.
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Pope Francis appoints Edenhofer to help in “Promoting Integral Human Development”

01/12/2021 - Ottmar Edenhofer will from now on advise the Vatican's “Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.” The Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) was appointed by Pope Francis, who created the institution just a few years ago. The dicastery's mission is to strengthen justice for refugees and stateless people who have had to leave their homes due to violence, economic crises or natural disasters, as well as promoting justice for the sick and poor.
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Climate change projected to double the number of people facing extreme drought

01/11/2021 - If current rates of global warming continue, up to 8 percent of the world's population – twice as many people as today – could be threatened by extreme droughts by the end of the 21st century. This is the key finding of a comprehensive study by an international team of scientists, including Jacob Schewe, Anne Gädecke, and Dieter Gerten from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Without effective climate change mitigation and resource maintenance, the authors argue, global water shortages could have disastrous ramifications.
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New app: “Climate time travel” as a test for future decisions

01/11/2021 - Anyone concerned about our future climate will soon be able to contribute to understanding the social dynamics of climate change by taking part in a “citizen science” experiment. In a donation-funded online simulation currently being developed by the non-profit company SCIARA in cooperation with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), users can playfully explore virtual climate futures, make decisions, and see the consequences. Based on the players' behavior, decision-makers in politics, business and society will ultimately be able to check climate protection measures for their social acceptance and effectiveness before they are implemented - in order to make effective decisions in the long term.
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Statement

"This is not about one year, it is about the trend": Rockström on record warm 2020

Today, the EU Copernicus Climate Change Service informs that 2020 is the warmest year on record for Europe - globally, 2020 ties with 2016 for warmest year recorded. On this issue, Earth system scientist Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research:
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Special Issue in Climatic Change: PIK Scientists Refine Hydrological Model Evaluation Methods

01/05/2021 - Tools to project the availability of freshwater are becoming ever more important under climate change and growing population. Yet mathematical hydrological models, while being valuable instruments for impact assessment, may contribute to uncertainties, especially if not properly evaluated.
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PIK at the Chaos Communication Congress rC3

23/12/2020 - This year everything is different. The legendary Chaos Communication Congress is taking place remotely this year due to Corona - but experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research will contribute. The major event of Europe's largest hacker association Chaos Computer Club (CCC) traditionally attracts thousands of people to the exhibition halls in Leipzig over the four days between Christmas and New Year, but this year those interested can attend the Remote Chaos Experience (rC3) from home.
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Southern Tanzania: Delayed Monsoon Rainfall Threatens Smallholder Farmers

12/22/2020 - Traditionally, seasonal rainfalls in Southern Tanzania begin in the second or third week of November. But this year, the start of the monsoon (or Msimu in the Swahili language) season was delayed to December 10th, as PIK researcher Elena Surovyatkina correctly predicted in October. This has potentially serious consequences for the country, in which the agricultural sector accounts for roughly a third of its Gross Domestic Product.
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Galina Churkina awarded with "Aquila Capital Transformation Award"

12/17/2020 - For her research on replacing cement and steel in urban construction by wood, PIK guest researcher Galina Churkina has been awarded with the first “Aquila Capital Transformation Award”. A high-profile jury chose Churkina's paper “Buildings as a global carbon sink” from a large number of submissions from PhD graduates at renowned universities and research institutions worldwide. The “Aquila Capital Transformation Award” aims to support research for mitigating climate change and is endowed with EUR 20,000. The award will be announced on an annual basis and aims to provide a contribution to a more sustainable society in the context of energy transformation and decarbonisation in Europe.
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Levke Caesar awarded with Publication Prize by the Leibniz-Kolleg Potsdam

12/15/2020 – This year's Publication Prize awarded by the Leibniz-Kolleg to young scientists goes to PIK-affiliated researcher Levke Caesar. A former student at the University of Potsdam, the award recognizes her important contributions in the field of climate physics – particularly her research into the evolution of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and its impact on the Earth System.
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Press Release

All new trucks sold must be fossil free by 2040, agree truck makers and climate researchers

12/15/2020 - In an unprecedented science-backed statement, Europe’s truck manufacturers have concluded that by 2040 all new trucks sold need to be fossil free in order to reach carbon-neutrality by 2050. It will be possible to meet this target provided the right charging/refuelling infrastructure is built and a coherent policy framework is put into place, including comprehensive CO2 pricing to drive the transition. To develop their roadmap to carbon-neutrality by 2050 at the latest, the CEOs of Europe’s commercial vehicle manufacturers, under the umbrella of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), have joined forces with leading scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
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Standing up for a Sustainable World – new book co-edited by Johan Rockström explores modes of resistance against systemic natural destruction

12/11/2020 - The world's natural capital – biodiversity, air, water, soil, and climate – is under attack. Unfettered economic growth and individual business interests have not led to a society benefitting all but are threatening to inflict irreversible damages to our planet. Yet there are ways forward to a better future. In a new book, edited by Claude Henry (Professor of Sustainable Development at Sciences Po), Johan Rockström (Director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research) and Nicholas Stern (Professor of Economics and Government and Chair of the Grantham Research Institute at London School of Economics) over 60 thinkers from various disciplines present new approaches to “raise living standards and fight poverty across the world” while “creating a much safer and more attractive environment.”
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Farmers in focus: Effects of elevated CO2 concentration on crops

Agriculture is a key socio-economic sector that both influences the climate and is exposed to climate impacts. To reach targets on food security, protection of biodiversity and the natural environment as well as on climate mitigation for the global common land, it is crucial to know how and where climate change and increasing atmospheric concentrations of CO2 affect crops. Decision makers and farmers need to quantify the risks to their sector and evaluate sustainable adaptation and mitigation strategies. An international team of agro-climatic experts, including PIK researcher Christoph Müller, has reviewed existing crop models that are used for these climate change risk assessments: While the size of CO2 fertilization effects is still uncertain to some extent, their results, published in Nature Food today, suggest that presenting crop modelling results without accounting elevated CO2 simulations are obsolete and don't offer added value to decision makers.
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PIK STATEMENT on the EU climate target and on the Paris Agreement's 5th anniversary

12/11/2020 - Today, the European Council adopted the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% below 1990 levels by 2030. On 12 December, the historic Paris climate agreement has its 5th anniversary of being adopted by representatives of more than 196 countries plus the EU at the UN climate summit COP21.
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Press Release

CO2 pricing and financial transfers: small changes can have a huge effect on climate equity

12/09/2020 - Global greenhouse-gas emission reductions could be achieved in a fair and thrifty way by surprisingly small variations of well-known policies. This is shown by a team of economists in a quantitative study now published in Nature. Differentiated CO2 prices in different countries combined with moderate financial transfers from advanced to developing countries would do the job. These changes would be most efficient in achieving fair burden sharing and at the same time keep overall costs in check, the researchers find. This could solve the epic trilemma to unite cost-efficiency, national sovereignty and fair effort-sharing.
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Expert assessment on a 55% target 2030: The path of least resistance will miss the EU climate target

12/09/2020 - An EU decision this week to ramp up the climate target for 2030 will be about more than the mere willingness to make greater political efforts towards climate neutrality in 2050. The target also shapes German climate policy. Experts from the Kopernikus energy transition project Ariadne, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, scrutinized the EU Commission's most important scenarios for more ambitious measures. Should the EU continue to rely on a varied mix of instruments lacking a clear concept for their interactions, it runs the risk of failing to meet its new goals, their research shows.
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Low food prices, high energy use: The pros and cons of emerging technology in our food system

12/08/2020 - An international team of scientists, including PIK researchers, has identified the potential impacts emerging from food system technologies in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals. In a new study, that has been published in Lancet Planetary Health, they find that while new technologies and innovation can help fix some issues with the food system, they also have far-reaching impacts. These can cause disruption and unintended consequences, some beneficial and some not, for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Food system innovation will be key to succeed, but new technologies need to be guided by science-based targets to avoid trade-offs and rebound effects.
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New study: CO2 price of 100 euros could find acceptance - if the revenue is refunded

12/07/2020 - In January a CO2 price for the traffic and heating sector will be introduced in Germany for the first time. Initially it will amount to 25 euros per ton of CO2, but will rise to 55 euros by 2025. But in order to meet climate targets by 2030 significantly higher prices are necessary.
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FABLE Report 2020: Pathways to sustainable land-use and food systems

The Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land-Use, and Energy (FABLE) Consortium has presented an updated plan on how countries can meet mid-century objectives on food security, healthy diets, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity, forest conservation, and freshwater use. In part coordinated by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), FABLE's mission is to mobilize top knowledge institutions from 20 countries to support the development of decision-support tools and long-term pathways towards sustainable food and land-use systems.
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The climate crisis makes people ill - four proposals towards a healthy future

12/03/2020 - Today the 2020 Lancet Countdown, the new report on the relationship between health and climate change, has been released. It shows that the health risks posed by a changing climate are increasing worldwide, including Germany - and that countermeasures are possible.
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Earth4All: New initiative on transformational economics

11/23/2020 - As a major new international collaboration, Earth4All will bring together leading researchers and policymakers, led by teams of the Club of Rome, the Norwegian Business School and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Together, they will explore transformational political and economic solutions for the 21st century to catalyze transformation along five pathways: energy, food, inequality, poverty and population (including health and education).
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Professorship at the University of Kassel for agricultural researcher Christoph Gornott

11/20/2020 - The University of Kassel has appointed PIK researcher Christoph Gornott to a professorship for agroecosystem analysis and modelling. Financed by a federal and state programme to support young scientists, he will now be a member of the faculty "Organic Agricultural Sciences" at the Witzenhausen campus.
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Potsdam Summer School 2021: Water - Our Global Common Good

11/19/2020 - "Water: Our Global Common Good - The Hydrosphere across Land and Sea" is the central topic of the Potsdam Summer School 2021. Experts, stakeholders, and guest lecturers from high level national and international institutes and organisations will contribute their insights at this exciting and unique opportunity to foster international cooperation and an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas. Applications are now open.
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”Highly Cited Scientists 2020” ranking: success for PIK researchers

11/18/2020 – The “Highly Cited Scientists” list once again features a number of PIK researchers. Twelve of them rank in the top 1% by citations for field and publication year in the 2020 Web of Science citation index, which is an indicator of scientific relevance. It is a remarkable success that the listed researchers are almost equally distributed across PIK departments and natural and social sciences. Many of them scored well in the “cross field” category of the ranking. The two Directors on the list, representing two important fields – Johan Rockström with Earth System Science and Ottmar Edenhofer with Economy –, are confirming the overarching result: high level transdisciplinary research earns international recognition.
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Press Release

Starved, stuffed and squandered: New study reveals consequences of decades of global nutrition transition

11/18/2020 - Just a handful of rice and beans – a part of our world is starved. Hawaiian Pizza and ice-cream – another part of our world is stuffed, throwing away food every day. This gap is likely to worsen, while food waste will increase and pressure on the environment will go up, a new study shows. Researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) assessed the consequences if the current nutrition transition, from scarce starch-based diets towards processed foods and animal products, continues – the calculations combine, for the first time, estimates for under- and overweight, food composition and waste. Their findings provide a startling look ahead: By 2050, more than 4 billion people could be overweight, 1.5 billion of them obese, while 500 million people continue to be underweight.
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US Presidentials results: "Unprecedented opportunity to lock in climate stabilization"

11/08/2020 - According to media reports Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have defeated Donald Trump in the US Presidential elections. This can have substantial relevance for international climate pathways. On this issue, statements by the two scientific Directors of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, economist Ottmar Edenhofer and Earth system scientist Johan Rockström.
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Event

"System Transformation": #RaceToZero UNFCCC pre-COP26 event

11/04/2020 - The #RaceToZero dialogues on how to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions kick off on Monday, 9th of November, organized by UNFCCC and COP26 world climate summit team. The Club of Rome and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research are joining forces to host the opening session on “Systems Transformation” - for a new resilience agenda for people, planet, prosperity. With presentations by Johan Rockström (Director of PIK) and Sandrine Dixson-Declève (Co-President of The Club of Rome) as well as a high-level panel discussion, this online event introduces all participants to ten days filled with keynotes, showcases and High-Level Champions all combined for a systemic transformation to reach the climate stabilization goals of the Paris Agreement.
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Press Release

Ice loss due to warming leads to warming due to ice loss: a vicious circle

10/27/2020 - The loss of huge ice masses can contribute to the warming that is causing this loss and further risks. A new study now quantifies this feedback by exploring long-term if-then-scenarios. If the Arctic summer sea-ice were to melt completely, a scenario that is likely to become reality at least temporarily within this century with ongoing greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels, this could eventually add roughly 0.2°C to global warming. This is, however, not in addition to IPCC projections of future warming since these already take the relevant mechanisms into account. Still, the scientists could now separate the effects of the ice loss from other effects and quantify it. The 0.2°C are substantial, given that global mean temperature is currently about one degree higher than in pre-industrial times, and governments worldwide agreed to stop the increase well below two degrees.
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