From forest resilience to power grids to loss and damage: PIK Research Days

02/22/2023 - Hot topics were presented in talks and discussed among scientists at the annual ‘Research Days’ of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Virtually all members of the institute gathered for the 2-day exchange, the first one which happened face-to-face after the online-only times of COVID pandemic. Once a year, the entire institute comes together to update one another on its findings, new methods and challenges – and to discuss new frontiers to be investigated.
From forest resilience to power grids to loss and damage: PIK Research Days
Research Days 2023: Ottmar Edenhofer is speaking in the special segment on Loss & Damage and litigation, with guest speaker and legal expert Roda Verheyen on the big screen and panelists Leonie Wenz and Matthias Mengel on stage. Photo: PIK

Loss and damage and litigation were the subject of special talks and a panel debate combining natural and social sciences, from the attribution of extreme weather impacts to the social costs of carbon. Legal expert

Dr. Roda Verheyen from Hamburg gave a guest input – she’s the lawyer who successfully fought the case resulting in the historic German constitutional court ruling on climate protection. She highlighted that it is really the science of institutions such as PIK that is essential for any successful climate litigation.

Scientists from all PIK Research Departments and FutureLabs presented on subjects as diverse as the difficulties of degrowth in food systems and preventing hurricane-induced outages in the power grid of Texas or what kind of forests are most resilient to climate change. In addition, colleagues from the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gave talks on subjects such as machine learning assisted policy evaluation that are complementary to PIK research.

Both Directors, climate economist Ottmar Edenhofer and natural scientist Johan Rockström, congratulated all researchers and staff for an outstanding performance in the past year. Scientists used the Research Days to present promising new projects. PIK research will, the Directors stated, not just discuss different states of equilibrium, but provide pathways to actually transition to a new, sustainable equilibrium.