Latest News

 

Sea-level legacy: 20cm more rise by 2300 for each 5-year delay in peaking emissions

02/20/2018 - Peaking global CO2 emissions as soon as possible is crucial for limiting the risks of sea-level rise, even if global warming is limited to well below 2°C. A study now published in the journal Nature Communications analyzes for the first time the sea-level legacy until 2300 within the constraints of the Paris Agreement. Their central projections indicate global sea-level rise between 0.7m and 1.2m until 2300 with Paris put fully into practice. As emissions in the second half of this century are already outlined by the Paris goals, the variations in greenhouse-gas emissions before 2050 will be the major leverage for future sea levels. The researchers find that each five year delay in peaking global CO2 emissions will likely increase median sea-level rise estimates for 2300 by 20 centimeters.
Read More

PIK ranked as the top climate think tank worldwide

14/02/2018 - The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) is the world’s most influential environmental think tank, a new ranking shows. For the ninth year in a row, PIK has been ranked among the top think tanks in the world working on environmental policy. The "Global Go To Think Tank Index Report 2017" that has just been published by the University of Pennsylvania, altogether considered more than 6,500 institutions across the globe.
Read More

Reports of coal’s terminal decline are premature

02/07/2018 - While less new coal-fired power plants are now being built in China and India, the planned expansion in the use of coal in fast-growing emerging economies, such as Turkey, Indonesia and Vietnam, will in part cancel out the reduction. Only if the countries of the world actively counteract this trend, they can achieve the climate goals agreed in the Paris Agreement. These are the results of the study “Reports of coal’s terminal decline may be exaggerated,” authored by researchers from the Potsdam Institute on Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), published in the journal Environmental Research Letters
Read More

Potsdam-China and back: "When climate projections return home"

02/05/2018 - China's Guanting region is threatened by water scarcity - how water and land can be used sustainably was explored over several years by a German-Chinese team headed by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Now the scientists published a book on their findings. The researchers applied computer simulations on climate change and water cycles in Brandenburg to the Guanting region. They thereby gained valuable new methodological insights for refining their models - and now bring this back to Germany: a learning process across continents.
Read More

National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina appoints Edenhofer

01/31/2018 - Ottmar Edenhofer, Chief Economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, was elected member of the Leopoldina. The honouring is a special recognition of his scientific achievements and his personality, said Leopoldina President Jörg Hacker about Edenhofer, who is also Director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons (MCC) and Professor of Economics of Climate Change at TU Berlin. The selection of a member for the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina follows strict standards and requires a broad agreement of the Extended Presidium.
Read More

EU commissioner Stylianides visits PIK

01/24/2018 - The European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) together with Director-General Monique Pariat and members of cabinet. He was interested in the latest climate research and particularly in prevention measures for the increasing risks of floods and forest fires due to climate change.
Read More

FAZ-Blog: PIK climate scientists on expedition to the Antarctic

01/23/2017 - The researchers Ricarda Winkelmann and Ronja Reese from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) recently departed for their expedition to Antarctica with the research vessel "Polarstern" of the Alfred Wegener Institute. Over the next few weeks, they will report regularly on their expedition, ice and climate change in a blog on FAZ.net. Usually, the two mathematicians at PIK work with numerical models and computer simulations. In the next few weeks, however, they will be collecting data on the Antarctic sea ice to learn more about the sensitivity of the gigantic ice masses of the ice continent.
Read More

Biomass plantations not compatible with planetary boundaries

01/22/2018 - Planting trees or grasses on a grand scale in plantations to extract CO2 from the atmosphere - this could make a long-term contribution to climate protection, but it would push the planet beyond ecological limits in other dimensions. A new study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in the journal Nature Climate Change now for the first time establishes a connection between ambitious international climate objectives and the more comprehensive concept of planetary boundaries. If biomass plantations in which plants bind carbon dioxide during growth are massively expanded, this would entail enormous risks for areas that are already stressed, such as biodiversity, biogeochemical flows, water resources and land use. According to the study, biomass as a means to capture and store CO2 can therefore only make a limited contribution. In order to stabilize the climate, a rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the combustion of coal, oil and gas is crucial.
Read More

Adaptation now: River flood risks increase around the globe under future warming

11/01/2018 - Rainfall changes caused by global warming will increase river flood risks across the globe. Already today, fluvial floods are among the most common and devastating natural disasters. Scientists have now calculated the required increase in flood protection until the 2040s worldwide, breaking it down to single regions and cities. They find that the need for adaptation is greatest in the US, parts of India and Africa, Indonesia, and in Central Europe including Germany. Inaction would expose many millions of people to severe flooding.
Read More

PIK´s Jürgen Kurths ranked as one of the most cited researchers

01/04/2018 – Jürgen Kurths was ranked as one of the most highly cited researchers in his field in 2017. His papers account for the top 1% of literature quoted in engineering sciences globally. The co-chair of research domain Transdisciplinary Concepts and Methods at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Head of Nonlinear Dynamics at Humboldt-University in Berlin publishes numerous research articles in high-ranking scientific journals every year.
Read More

Detecting abrupt transitions – be it in ocean heat or financial markets

01/03/2018 - From stock indices to sea surface temperatures, a lot of relevant data comes in the form of time series. Reliable detection of abrupt transitions such as a downswing of stock values or water warming during an El Niño event in the Pacific is obviously important, but most analyses fail to take into account the uncertainties in the data. The challenge is to distinguish sudden changes while being aware of the underlying uncertainties. Although there are a number of change point detection methods, scientists now propose for the first time an approach that accurately represents the time series uncertainties and thus provide a more robust analysis.
Read More

PIK scientists at the Chaos Communication Congress 34C3

29/12/2017 - For four days between Christmas and New Year´s, thousands of hackers, experts and artists meet every year to exchange news and views and learn about new technological developments and tools. The 34th Chaos Communication Congress (34C3) takes place in Leipzig this year, the organizers expect more than 13.000 participants. Science is represented as well, this year also by experts of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) - climate change is one of this year´s main themes.
Read More

American Geophysical Union: Rahmstorf awarded with Climate Communication Prize at conference with 20,000 researchers

12/14/2017 - For his achievements in communicating climate science findings Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) was honoured with the Climate Communication Prize of the American Geophysical Association (AGU). He was awarded at the AGU Fall Meeting, where more than 20,000 scientists gathered at the largest international meeting of Earth and Space Sciences to discuss new trends and research findings.
Read More

Meeting with Brandenburg´s prime minister addresses commission on the future of the coal region

13/12/2017 - Brandenburg´s prime minister Dietmar Woidke and other members of the federal state government have convened with the heads of Potsdam´s climate research institutions. At the meeting at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), the focus was on the energy policy of Brandenburg, especially in regard to coal mining in the Lausitz region. The director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, proposed a future commission for Brandenburg. Experts could develop recommendations to generate new opportunities for the Lausitz region together with the people who live here.
Read More

ReKliEs-De: Future climate trends in Germany

12/11/2017 - More heat-waves and heavy rainfalls, fewer cold spells, an increase in the annual mean temperature by 4°C, this is how the climate in Germany could evolve until the year 2100 in a scenario of unabated climate change - with massive consequences for agriculture and public health. These are the results of the project ReKliEs-De ("Regional Climate Projections Ensemble for Germany") which for the first time estimates current climate projections for the German federal states and river basins. The prospects for Germany in a business as usual scenario are severe - if no active countermeasures will be taken. However, the results also show that if all climate protection agreements will be consistently implemented, the two-degree target agreed in Paris is still achievable.
Read More

Tiny ice losses at Antarctica’s fringes can accelerate ice loss far away

12/12/2017 - A thinning of small areas of floating ice at Antarctica’s coast can accelerate the movement of ice grounded on rocks hundreds of kilometers away, a new study shows. It is known that the ice shelves surrounding the continent regulate the ice flow from the land into the ocean. So far it was assumed that the ice flow is most vulnerable to melting at the base near the grounding line where the ice flows from land into the sea and becomes afloat. Now scientists found that also melting near the fringes and in the midst of the ice shelves can have direct effects reaching very far inland. This could increase ice loss and hence sea-level rise.
Read More

Transformation to wind and solar could be achieved with low indirect greenhouse gas emissions

12/08/2017 - Different low carbon technologies from wind or solar energy to fossil carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) differ greatly when it comes to indirect greenhouse gas emissions in their life cycle. This is the result of a comprehensive new study conducted by an international team of scientists that is now published in the journal Nature Energy. Unlike what some critics argue, the researchers not only found that wind and solar energy belong to the more favorable when it comes to life-cycle emissions. They also show that a full decarbonization of the global power sector by scaling up these technologies would induce only modest indirect greenhouse gas emissions – and hence not impede the transformation towards a climate-friendly power system.
Read More

Climate and public health: Leopoldina Dialogue in Potsdam

12/05/2017 - Climate change related risks for public health are one of the most important challenges of today. However, the science communities on both sides of the fence have so far not sufficiently interacted to reflect the critical nexus of climate change and health. Taking the first mover advantage, a workshop of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) now brought together renowned scientists from climate sciences, health and medicine, psychology, environmental sciences, social sciences and economics. They will develop a publication offering stakeholder and decision-makers orientation on public health and climate policy.
Read More

PIK at G20 Resource Efficiency Dialogue

01/12/2017 - The Inaugural Meeting of the G20 Resource Efficiency Dialogue took place in Berlin this week, starring the German, South African and Japanese Ministers of the Environment as well as a number of other high-ranking guests from politics, major corporations and institutions like OECD and the UN Environment Programme. In an effort to support the transition to a sustainable and efficient use of all natural resources and contribute to poverty eradication, the Resource Efficiency Dialogue was established during the G20 leaders´ meeting in Hamburg earlier this year.
Read More

Consumption is the bottleneck for sustainable development

12/01/2017 - From ending poverty to improving wellbeing, gender equality, cities' resilience or climate action - while synergies among most of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) foster progress in sustainable development, there are some key conflicts or bottlenecks that could hamper achieving the SDG objectives for 2030. This is the result of a new comprehensive analysis by a team of scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). According to the study, responsible consumption and production seems to be such a bottleneck, as data from the past shows.
Read More

Leibniz Doctorate Award for Leonie Wenz

11/30/2017 - Leonie Wenz from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) receives the Leibniz Doctorate Award 2017 for her dissertation "Climate change impacts in an increasingly connected world". It deals with the consequences of global warming for economic production in the context of an increasingly globalized and interdependent world. "In addition to the scientific quality, which is reflected in several publications in renowned scientific journals, it is also of high social relevance - examplary for Leibniz research," says the Leibniz Association.
Read More

“Climate-Neutral Living in Berlin" kick-off: Reducing personal CO2 footprints in a living lab

30/11/2017 - 100 households, 365 days: Starting this December, private households in the German capital will be testing what climate action means in everyday life in the project "Climate-Neutral Living in Berlin" (Klimaneutral Leben in Berlin - KliB). From families with children to partnerships, flat-sharing communities or singles - for one year, the voluntary housholds will document their personal carbon footprint and learn about ways to improve their own climate balance. They will be supported by experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The KliB living lab intends to show how climate protection can be implemented in our everyday life, where potential problems lie and what politicians could do to overcome them.
Read More

Environment Council SRU: steering the transport sector in a new direction

23.11.2017 - The German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU) issued a special report promoting a quota for electric cars. At least 25 percent of all new cars and light commercial vehicles should be equipped with an electric drive by 2025. With regard to the additional electricity demand by the transport sector, an accelerated expansion of renewable energies is necessary according to the report. Moreover, during the new legislative period the end of the diesel privilege should be initiated. The report also makes proposals for the further development of route-dependent car and truck toll systems. The transport sector is currently responsible for about one-fifth of Germany's greenhouse gas emissions.
Read More

PIK in the media during COP23

11/17/2017 - The UN climate summit COP23 in Bonn is drawing to a close and many are in good spirits that it will further strengthen the Paris Agreement with a set of rules how best to achieve the goal of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees. Many PIK scientists took part this year and participated in a number of high-ranking events. The experts also spoke to several media outlets from Germany and abroad.
Read More

"We must reduce CO2 emissions rapidly"

11/17/2017 - The negotiations at the UN Climate Conference and the exploratory talks in Berlin on forming a new government are about to be concluded. On this issue, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts (PIK), and Ottmar Edenhofer, PIK´s Chief Economist and Director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) published statements.
Read More

Schellnhuber presents "10 Must-Knows on Climate" at COP23

11/13/2017 - From accelerating sea-level rise and ocean acidification to increasing risks of extreme weather events and the "collision course" with Earth’s climatic tipping points - PIK director Schellnhuber presented "10 Must-Knows on Climate Change from Science" today at COP23 in Bonn, together with UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, Wendy Broadgate from Future Earth, and Johan Rockström from the Earth League. They addressed policymakers and the public to show that achieving the Paris Agreement is necessary and possible. "Some crucial climate-change facts tend to get lost in the noise of daily deliberations - even at an event such as the UN climate summit. So it is important to remind everyone of the very reason why ten thousands of people meet in Bonn: unprecedented risk to humanity due to global warming, as revealed by science", says PIK director Schellnhuber.
Read More

Schellnhuber and the Californian Governor Jerry Brown meet in Oslo

10.11.2017 - Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), will meet California's Governor Jerry Brown, America's climate protection vanguard, at the Academy of Sciences in Oslo. Together with scientists from all over the world they will discuss what politicians need from the scientific community in order to address pressing challenges such as climate change. The meeting in Oslo on November 10th aims at strengthening the dialogue between science and politics on environmental and climate issues.
Read More

On COP23 and the coalition negotiations in Berlin:"Stabilizing the climate, modernizing Germany"

11/10/2017 - "If we stabilize the climate, we will also establish more stability in the world. This requires national pioneers. Germany will lose its position as a role model if it does not quickly and effectively reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases, which have so far stagnated at a high level. The phasing out of coal is an indispensable step in this respect." This was the message from leading scientists at yesterday's press conference of the German Climate Consortium (DKK) at the Humboldt University in Berlin. In a statement on the UN Climate Change Conference and the current negotiations on forming a new German government, leading climate scientists addressed policymakers and the public, including the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Mojib Latif from the Helmholtz Centre for Oceanography Kiel (GEOMAR), Monika Rhein from the Institute for Environmental Physics at the University of Bremen and Gernot Klepper from the Institute for World Economy at the University of Bremen.
Read More

Cities can cut greenhouse gas emissions far beyond their urban borders

11/07/2017 - Greenhouse gas emissions caused by urban households’ purchases of goods and services from beyond city limits are much bigger than previously thought. These upstream emissions may occur anywhere in the world and are roughly equal in size to the total emissions originating from a city’s own territory, a new study shows. This is not bad news but in fact offers local policy-makers more leverage to tackle climate change, the authors argue in view of the UN climate summit COP23 that just started. They calculated the first internationally comparable greenhouse gas footprints for four cities from developed and developing countries: Berlin, New York, Mexico City, and Delhi. Contrary to common beliefs, not consumer goods like computers or sneakers that people buy are most relevant, but housing and transport – sectors that cities can substantially govern.
Read More

Many PIK scientists at COP23 in Bonn

03/11/2017 - A number of experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) will take part in the climate summit COP23, taking place from November 6-17 in Bonn and presided by Fiji. PIK director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber will present the ten things you need to know about climate change, together with UNFCCC´s Patricia Espinosa, for example. At a side event with experts from the ETH Zürich, the ACT Alliance and Bread for the World, PIK´s chief economist Ottmar Edenhofer will discuss how to implement equity in the framework of the Paris Agreement.
Read More