Latest News

 

Sustainable and healthy food to feed the world in 2050: Nature study

10/10/2018 - “Feeding a world population of 10 billion people is possible - yet only if we change the way we eat, and the way we produce food, our research shows. Greening the food sector or eating up our planet: this is what is on the menu today,” says Johan Rockström, Director Designate of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He’s one of the authors of a new study now published by an international team of scientists in the journal Nature.
Read More

Statement on the upcoming 1.5°C IPCC report

2018/10/05 - The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is currently engaged in the final consultations with representatives of states worldwide in South Korea to adopt its special report on 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming. Researchers from the Potsdam Institute are involved in these efforts. In the Paris Climate Accord in 2015, the international community had agreed to limit global warming to "well below two degrees", 1.5 degrees being mentioned as an aspirational target. The IPCC report on the feasibility and impacts of more ambitious warming limit will be published on Monday. The new twin leadership of the PIK issued a statement on the issues at stake.
Read More

"Which Future?!" and "Schimmelreiter": Climate research on stage

02/10/2018 - What if Italy would exit the Euro and the currency would collapse? What if there were no money at the ATMs, due to a new banking crisis? What if there were a migration crisis? What if there were sudden and extreme climate changes? Questions like theses are discussed in the new play "Let Them Eat Money. Welche Zukunft?!" (Which Future?!) that just premiered at the Deutsche Theater in Berlin.
Read More

Albatross: Film event with PIK’s new Artist in Residence Chris Jordan

25/09/2018 - From September to November Chris Jordan is visiting the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research as Artist in Residence. The programme is a cooperation between PIK, the state capital Potsdam and the Berliner Künstlerprogramm DAAD, aiming at the exchange of science and art in the context of climate research. Jordan, US based artist and filmmaker, will present his film “Albatross” about ocean plastic pollution in Thalia Cinema in Potsdam this week in a public film event.
Read More

Speaking up for climate action: Rockström at Climate Summits in New York and California

25/09/2018 - Alongside French President Emmanuel Macron and other distinguished guests, PIK Co-Director Designate Johan Rockström will speak at the One Planet Summit this week in New York. Co-hosted by President Macron, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank and Michael Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action, the One Planet Summit is a forum for mobilization and actions. With the aim to speed up the global transition to a low-carbon economy, the meeting is part of a series of high level events in the run up to the UN Climate Conference in Polish Catowice - from the Global Climate Action Summit in September in San Francisco to the Paris Peace Forum in November.
Read More

Planet at risk of heading towards irreversible “Hothouse Earth” state

06/08/2018 - Keeping global warming to within 1.5-2°C may be more difficult than previously assessed. An international team of scientists has published a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) showing that even if the carbon emission reductions called for in the Paris Agreement are met, there is a risk of the planet entering what the scientists call “Hothouse Earth” conditions. A “Hothouse Earth” climate will in the long term stabilize at a global average of 4-5°C higher than pre-industrial temperatures with sea level 10-60 m higher than today, the paper says. The authors conclude it is now urgent to greatly accelerate the transition towards an emission-free world economy.
Read More

Rockström appointed as chief scientist by Conservation International

10/10/2018 - Conservation International appointed the Director Designate of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Johan Rockström, as their new Chief Scientist. While assuming PIK leadership together with the climate economist Ottmar Edenhofer this year, Rockström serve the renowned US-based Conservation International probono. This position will also provide support for research at the Potsdam Institute.
Read More

Hurricane Florence threatening the US coast

13/09/2018 - Hurricane Florence is threatening the US coast as it will likely hit North or South Carolina. Last year already brought unusually devastating tropical cyclones.
Read More

Europe’s renewable energy regulation could harm global forests

12/09/2018 - To fulfill the Paris Climate Agreement, which is backed by science, the European Union laudably plans to strongly enhance its renewable energy ambition – but a provision regulating the use of biomass for energy raises great concern among scientists. The new regulation would allow countries, power plants and factories to cut down trees and burn them for power or heat generation and to claim that this fully qualifies as low-carbon renewable energy. Currently Europe has mainly made use of biomass from wood waste and residues for bioenergy generation. But use could now ramp up to levels requiring massive input of stem wood as well, and this would be allowed under the new regulation. In stark contrast to the intentions of the EU, this would in fact also increase European greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate climate change, a team of scientists now argues in a comment published in Nature Communications.
Read More

Potsdam Summer School 2018: The skin of our planet

12/09/2018 - 42 outstanding young talents from 36 countries around the world will come together in Potsdam to discuss the interplay of dynamic processes on the Earth's surface. This year’s Potsdam Summer School, from the 10 to 19 September, is dealing with the skin of our planet, also featuring experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). In lectures, discussions and workshops with scientists from leading research institutes in Potsdam, but also on an excursion to the Spreewald Biosphere Reserve, international young talents from science, industry and the public sector will discuss highly topical research issues and strengthen international cooperation.
Read More

"Warning Signal: Extreme Events"

11/09/2018 - The book "Warning signal: extreme events" with contributions from more than a hundred researchers will be presented this week at a major symposium at the University of Hamburg, Germany. From heat waves and droughts but also heavy rain and floods to tropical cyclones: the risks are increasing globally. The new publication as well as the event are intended to present the topic to a broader public.
Read More

Alice in Climate Wonderland now also in French

07/10/2018 - An unusual work of climate science communication now made its way from Potsdam to Paris. The book "Alice au pays du climat" is a very free adaptation of Lewis Carroll's philosophical classic by Magret Boysen who leads the arts program at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Originally published in German, it is now brought to the French market by Édition Le Pommier.
Read More

Schellnhuber signs the Golden Book of the city of Potsdam

05/09/2018 - "From Potsdam to Paris and back again - Operation Climate Rescue" - that was the title of a salon discussion which took place yesterday evening in Potsdam city hall. Potsdam's mayor Jann Jacobs had invited the founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, who on this day also addd his name to the Brandenburg capital's Golden Book in recognition of his many years of service.
Read More

Edenhofer again ranked amongst Germany’s top economists

09/03/2018 – Ottmar Edenhofer has once again been ranked one of Germany’s leading economists by the national daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He is the only climate expert who made it into the top 20. In the category of scientific quotations, Edenhofer now reached the 4th rank. In the overall ranking which is based on a number of broader criteria, he is ranked 12. Later this month, Edenhofer will become one of the two new Directors of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He is also Professor at Technische Universität Berlin and Director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change.
Read More

Just & In–Time Climate Policy Four Initiatives for a Fair Transformation

31/08/2018 - Together with the Minister for the Environment, Svenja Schulze, and Georg Schütte from the Federal Ministry for Innovation and Research, PIK Director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber presented a new policy paper of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). It names four necessary initiatives for fair and timely climate policy.
Read More

Nice sunny days can grow into heat waves – and wildfires: summer weather is stalling

20/08/2018 - Be it heavy downpours or super-hot spells, summer weather becomes more persistent in North America, Europe and parts of Asia. When those conditions stall for several days or weeks, they can turn into extremes: heatwaves resulting in droughts, health risks and wildfires; or relentless rainfall resulting in floods. A team of scientists now presents the first comprehensive review of research on summer weather stalling focusing on the influence of the disproportionally strong warming of the Arctic as caused by greenhouse-gas emissions from burning fossil fuels. Evidence is mounting, they show, that we likely meddle with circulation patterns high up in the sky. These are affecting, in turn, regional and local weather patterns – with sometimes disastrous effects on the ground. This has been the case with the 2016 wildfire in Canada, another team of scientists show in a second study.
Read More

Flipping the switch: making use of carbon price dollars for health and education

07/16/2018 - While health systems, clean water and education are a plain given in many parts of the world, millions of people still do not have sufficient access to these basic public goods. In fact, carbon prices could make substantial financial resources available for succeeding with the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations, a team of scientists now finds. At the same time, carbon pricing could be a central contribution to meet global climate targets and limit global warming to well below 2°C until the end of the century.
Read More

Summer of extremes - PIK experts in the media

07/26/2018 - Everybody seems to be talking about the weather these days, with extreme heat in Germany and Europe, forest fires in Sweden, Greece and California. From Japan to the Arctic - the Northern hemisphere is currently experiencing a heat wave and experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research (PIK) were interviewed by numerous media outlets for an assessment of the current situation in the light of climate change.
Read More

What saved the West Antarctic Ice Sheet 10,000 years ago will not save it today

06/14/2018 - The retreat of the West Antarctic ice masses after the last Ice Age was reversed surprisingly about 10,000 years ago, scientists found. This is in stark contrast to previous assumptions. In fact, it was the shrinking itself that stopped the shrinking: relieved from the weight of the ice, the Earth crust lifted and triggered the re-advance of the ice sheet. However, this mechanism is much too slow to prevent dangerous sea-level rise caused by West Antarctica’s ice-loss in the present and near future. Only rapid greenhouse-gas emission reductions can.
Read More

Alumni return to PIK: New award facilitates research visits

07/20/2018 - The Potsdam Institute is keen to keep in touch with its alumni in Germany and all over the world, and has therefore set up a dedicated Alumni programme. Facilitated by funding from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the programme includes a "PIK Alumni Return Award" intended to enable former PIK scientists to return for a brief research visit to Potsdam. The next alumni-returnee will be Veronika Stolbova, at present a postdoc at the ETH Zurich. She will visit the institute to further advance research with PIK colleagues and give a presentation of her current work.
Read More

Potsdam experts in the German Coal Commission

07/13/2018 - The coal commission established by Germany’s Federal Government is seeking input from, amongst others, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. This Friday, the chief economist and director designate of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Ottmar Edenhofer, gave a presentation in the panel. The focus was on the possibilities of a rapid reduction of greenhouse gases in the German energy system, to stabilize our climate. The acting Director and founder of PIK, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, is a full member of the 'Commission for Growth, Structural Change and Employment' – the official name of the committee –, and will be one of those to decide on its outcome at the end of the year.
Read More

New Report “The World in 2050”: Sustainable development experts meet in New York

07/10/2018 - From education and health to responsible consumption, a decarbonized energy-system, agriculture, sustainable cities and digitalization - six transformations are necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations, a new report by leading experts in the field finds. Published at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York this week, the new report prepared by The World in 2050 (TWI2050) initiative outlines the key points that are necessary to bring the world on target to a sustainable future. More than 60 authors and 20 organizations were involved in the report, among them Johan Rockström, current Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and designated Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), as well as PIK researchers Elmar Kriegler, Hermann Lotze-Campen and Alexander Popp.
Read More

Heat wave in California and heavy rain in Japan

09/07/2018 - Currently, California is confronted with extreme heat while Japan is hit by heavy rain. Stefan Rahmstorf, Earth System Analysis research domain co-chair at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Professor at the University of Potsdam comments on the issue.
Read More

„Scientific foundation for the Paris Agreement“: UNFCCC head Espinosa laudates climate economist Edenhofer

07/05/2018 - In recognition of his outstanding contributions to tackling the climate challenge, Ottmar Edenhofer has been awarded with the Romano Guardini Prize of the Catholic Academy in Bavaria. As chief economist and designated Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) as well as Founding Director of the Mercator Research Institute for Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), Edenhofer has both advanced the science and served as a political advisor. The Prize has been handed over in Munich in a festive ceremony attended by more than 200 high-ranking guests from politics, science, business, and religion.
Read More

Clean power is not enough: More climate action in industry, transport and building sectors needed to meet Paris climate targets

06/25/2018 - Coal power versus wind and solar energy – debates about the Paris climate targets often centre around electricity supply. Yet, even in a world of stringent climate policies and a clean power generation, the remaining use of fossil fuels in industry, transport and heating in buildings could still cause enough CO2 emissions to endanger the climate targets agreed on by the international community, an international team of researchers finds. Published in Nature Climate Change, their elaborate study is the first to focus specifically on the residual fossil fuel emissions from sectors that are not as easily decarbonized as power generation.
Read More

Spacefood for cows: Industrial microbes could feed cattle, pigs and chicken with less damage to the environment

06/20/2018 - Deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, nitrogen pollution – today’s agricultural feed cultivation for cattle, pigs and chicken comes with tremendous impacts for the environment and climate. Cultivating feed in industrial facilities instead of on croplands might help to alleviate the critical implications in the agricultural food supply chain. Protein-rich microbes, produced in large-scale industrial facilities, are likely to increasingly replace traditional crop-based feed. A new study now published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology for the first time estimates the economic and environmental potential of feeding microbial protein to pigs, cattle and chicken on a global scale. The researchers find that by replacing only 2 percent of livestock feed by protein-rich microbes, more than 5 percent of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, global cropland area and global nitrogen losses could each be decreased.
Read More

Mix it: Policy combination needed to achieve climate targets along with sustainable development goals

06/20/2018 - A broad combination of policies might be best suited to help achieve both climate stabilization targets as well as most of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These policies reach from straightforward CO2 pricing to regulation of water and forest protection, to lifestyle changes such as eating less meat, a new study shows. The scientists highlight the complex interplay between the different targets. A policy focused only on CO2 pricing would cost the least, they show, but would likely trigger substantial land-use changes.
Read More

Better be safe than sorry: economic optimization risks tipping of important Earth system elements

06/15/2018 - Optimizing economic welfare without constraints might put human well-being at risk, a new climate study argues. While being successful in bringing down costs of greenhouse gas reductions for instance, the concept of profit maximization alone does not suffice to avoid the tipping of critical elements in the Earth system which could lead to dramatic changes of our livelihood. The scientists use mathematical experiments to compare economic optimization to the governance concepts of sustainability and the more recent approach of a safe operating space for humanity. All of these turn out to have their benefits and deficits, yet the profit-maximizing approach shows the greatest likelihood of producing outcomes that harm people or the environment.
Read More

Long Night of Sciences in summer heat

06/14/2018 – Despite of the stifling heat, almost 2000 interested people from Berlin and Brandenburg visited the Telegraph Hill in Potsdam for this year’s Long Night of Sciences and explored the various offers of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the hill’s other research institutes, instead of jumping into one of the nearby lakes for some swimming.
Read More

PIKturing our future: The young scientists’ visions for the institute

06/05/2018 - Once a year, the doctoral candidates of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) gather to discuss their research and exchange ideas. This year’s "PhD day" aimed at giving young scientists the possibility to think about and discuss their visions, wishes and ideas for the future of the institute. What do young scientists need to be able to perform excellent science? In what areas do they need more support and in what way? How can they interact with society during their work?
Read More