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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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Statement

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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Niklas Boers awarded with EGU Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award

10/26/2020 - One of 2021’s Outstanding Early Career Scientist Awards goes to PIK researcher Niklas Boers. Awarded by the European Geosciences Union (EGU), the prize recognizes Boers’ important contributions in the fields covered by the Nonlinear Processes in Geosciences (NP) Division, which is focused on a series of nonlinear paradigms including deterministic chaos, tipping points, predictability and its limits, as well as extreme events.
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President Steinmeier: “Without people like Edenhofer, the Paris Agreement and the German climate deal would not have been possible.”

10/25/2020 - German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has acknowledged the political significance of Ottmar Edenhofer's scientific work. The economist and director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the Mercator Research Institute for Global Commons and Climate Change was awarded the 2020 Environmental Prize of the The German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) in Hanover on Sunday. “Without people like you, there would not have been the Paris Climate Agreement and the German climate deal," said Steinmeier addressing Edenhofer in his laudatory speech. "You're advising the Pope, the World Bank, the German government.”
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Sabine Gabrysch appointed to Advisory Council of the Federal Government

15.10.2020 - The Federal Cabinet has appointed new members to the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). Six of the nine Advisory Council members were appointed for the first time, including Sabine Gabrysch from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
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"Climate has reached a global crisis point": PIK Director Joins TED Countdown

10/15/2020 - “We Can Change Climate Change” – this is the slogan of TED Countdown, a year-long initiative by scientists, artists, government officials and activists to collectively develop concrete ideas for a cleaner future. PIK Director Johan Rockström contributed with an engaging and energizing video statement.
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Press Release

Biggest CO2 drop: Real-time data shows Covid-19’s massive impact on global emissions

10/14/2020 - While the ongoing Corona pandemic continues to threaten millions of lives around the world, the first half of 2020 saw an unprecedented decline in CO2 emissions – larger than during the financial crisis of 2008, the oil crisis of 1979, or even World War II. An international team of researchers has found that in the first six months of this year, 8.8 percent less carbon dioxide were emitted than in the same period in 2019 – a total decrease of 1551 million tonnes. The groundbreaking study not only offers a much more precise look at COVID-19’s impact on global energy consumption than previous analyses. It also suggests what fundamental steps could be taken to stabilize the global climate in the aftermath of the pandemic.
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Remembering Mario Molina, Nobel Prize-winning chemist and MIT Institute Professor Emeritus

10/12/2020 - It is with deepest sorrow that the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) is grieving for Professor Mario Molina who died on 7 October at the age of 77.
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Press Release

Small area, great effect: Peatland, the clever carbon capturer

10/09/2020 - Peatland rewetting is a greatly underestimated means to stabilize our climate, a new study shows. While the public debate often focuses on forests, global peatlands in fact store about twice as much carbon. Yet, once drained, peatlands emit large amounts of greenhouse gases, currently about double of what global air traffic emits each year. For the first time, a team led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) included peatland emissions, based on computer simulations, in quantitative projections of how global warming can be kept below 2° Celsius. They find that current mitigation pathways do not accurately consider peatlands. To reach climate stabilization targets, peatland protection and restoration must thus be increased – for instance in the current EU agricultural policy reform.
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Larger part of Amazon rainforest at risk of tipping

10/05/2020 A larger part of the Amazon rainforest than previously thought is at risk of crossing a tipping point where it could become a savanna-type ecosystem, according to a new study. The research, based on computer models and data analysis, is published by a team of scientists including Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in the journal Nature Communications. Rainforests are very sensitive to changes that affect rainfall for extended periods. If rainfall drops below a certain threshold, areas may shift into a savanna state.
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United Nations: "Protect People and Planet"

09/25/2020 - As the United Nations celebrate their 75th anniversary with a high-level week of the 75th General Assembly, they opened with a full day high-level meeting held under the banner “The Future We Want, the UN We Need” on 21 September. Global governance is a key topic and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) - and namely its Director Johan Rockström - has been involved on several levels. He particularly participates via video in a Heads of State event "Protect People and Planet" on 28 September.
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Ottmar Edenhofer among Germany's most influential economists

09/24/2020 - In the ranking of Germany’s most influential economists published by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Ottmar Edenhofer is once again among the 'Top Ten' – and once more, he is the only climate economist among Germany's top tier economic researchers. The director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) scored particularly highly because of his scientific citations with which other researchers in the scientific community refer to his work. Ernst Fehr from the University of Zurich landed at the top of the ranking followed by Clemens Fuest from the ifo Munich and Marcel Fratzscher from the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin, on second and third place, respectively.
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Press Release

Stability Check on Antarctica Reveals High Risk for Long-Term Sea-Level Rise

09/23/2020 - The warmer it gets, the faster Antarctica loses ice – and much of it will then be gone forever. Consequences for the world’s coastal cities and cultural heritage sites would be detrimental, from London to Mumbai, and from New York to Shanghai. That’s what a team of researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam University and New York’s Columbia University has found out in their new study, published in Nature (cover story), on how much warming the Antarctic Ice Sheet can survive. In around one million hours of computation time, their unprecedentedly detailed simulations delineate where exactly and at which warming levels the ice would become unstable and eventually melt and drain into the ocean. They find a delicate concert of accelerating and moderating effects, but the main conclusion is that unmitigated climate change would have dire long-term consequences: If the global mean temperature level is sustained long enough at 4 degrees above pre-industrial levels, Antarctic melting alone could eventually raise global sea levels by more than six meters.
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PIK's 2020 Resident Artist: Sheila Hayman

09/23/2020 - Renowned British filmmaker and author Sheila Hayman is this year’s Artist in Residence at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The three-month residency is made possible by a cooperation between the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program (BKP), the Department of Culture and Museums of the City of Potsdam, and PIK.
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Towards a climate resilient Europe: EU Mission Board with Johan Rockström releases report

09/22/2020 Turning the urgent challenge of adapting to climate change into an opportunity to make Europe resilient, climate-prepared and just – this is the aim of the EU Mission Board report that has been released today, in the course of the European Research and Innovation Days 2020. Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), took part in the Mission Board to support strengthening the role of science in the areas of adaptation and resilience and the associated social and technological transformation processes.
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Press Release

Indian monsoon can be predicted better after volcanic eruptions

09/18/2020 - Large volcanic eruptions can help to forecast the monsoon over India – the seasonal rainfall that is key for the country’s agriculture and thus for feeding one billion people. As erratic as they are, volcanic eruptions improve the predictability, an Indian-German research team finds. What seems to be a paradox is in fact due to a stronger coupling between the monsoon over large parts of South and South-East Asia and the El Niño phenomenon after an eruption. Combining data from meteorological observations, climate records, computer model simulations, and geological archives such as tree-rings, corals and ice-cores from past millennia of Earth history, the researchers found that a synchronization of the monsoon with the strongest mode of natural climate variability, the El Niño, makes it easier to anticipate the strength of seasonal rainfall in the Indian subcontinent.
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Cold Summers, Shrinking Monsoon Season: How Record Artic Warming is Changing the Climate All Over the World

Arctic warming may be one of the reasons India´s monsoon season will be shorter this year – the early withdrawal in the beginning of October was predicted by a unique forecasting method by Elena Surovyatkina from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
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NASA-led research on sea-level rise with PIK contribution: Global intercomparison of projected mass loss from ice sheets

09/18/2020 In an international effort, 60 researchers including several researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) have produced extensive analyses of Antarctica’s and Greenland’s future mass loss.
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Economist Edenhofer on the climate proposals of EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

09/ 16/2020 - In her State of the Union address EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced today that the EU would be subject to more stringent climate protection conditions. The new goal is to reduce CO2 emissions in the European Union by 2030 to 55 percent below the 1990 level.
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Facebook launches Climate Science Information Center with scientific contributions by PIK

09/15/2020 – Facebook, a major global social media channel, starts a Climate Science Information Center featuring scientific contributions from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and other leading institutions. PIK will contribute alongside the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Marine and Polar Research (AWI), and Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD). Since long, Potsdam researchers provide scientific information to stakeholders across economic sectors and across the political spectrum, as well as to media and a broader public.
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Press Release

Climate Change triggers migration – particularly in middle-income and agricultural countries

09/14/2020 - Environmental hazards affect populations worldwide and can drive migration under specific conditions. Changes in temperature levels, increased rainfall variability, and rapid-onset disasters, such as tropical storms, are important factors as shown by a new study led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Environmental migration is most pronounced in middle-income and agricultural countries but weaker in low-income countries, where populations often lack resources needed for migration. The findings make it possible to identify geographical regions that may be especially susceptible to migration movements in the future.
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Press Release

"Now is the time to turn these words into deeds"

09/11/2020 - Germany's Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier, today made a far-reaching proposal for increased climate protection. By introducing a "Charter for Climate Neutrality and Economic Power" as well as a 20-point program the Minister wants to ensure a broad social consensus on the matter.
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Unraveling 66 million years of climate history from ocean sediments: study in Science

09/10/2020 - Researchers have analyzed data from deep-sea sediments in order to reconstruct Earth’s climate with an unprecedented temporal resolution. To achieve this, the international team, led by Dr. Thomas Westerhold of MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences at the University of Bremen and Dr. Norbert Marwan of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), compiled and analyzed a comprehensive dataset obtained from sediment cores from the ocean floor. Innovative statistical methods for studying complex dynamical systems were applied revealing fundamental climate states. They show the deterministic nature of climate changes over very long periods of time. The team’s new climate reference curve have been published in the prestigious journal Science.
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Reversing the Loss of Biodiversity: Researchers Present Ambitious Plan

09/10/2020 - The rapid extinction of animal and plant species could be reversed by 2050 – by doing two things: Investing in better land-use management and transforming agriculture and the food industry. A new study by an international team of scientists, including Hermann Lotze-Campen, Alexander Popp, and Florian Humpenöder from the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research, lays out what it will take to reverse the current alarming trends of biodiversity loss – without endangering other important Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations General Assembly.
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