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Hermann Lotze-Campen appointed to AgMIP’s new Executive Committee

10/23/2017 - The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Program (AgMIP) has just established an Executive Committee, reflecting the growing impact of scientific contributions of AgMIP. The new members are internationally recognized leaders for their sustained scientific and technical contributions to agricultural sciences. From the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research (PIK), Hermann Lotze-Campen, Chair of Research Domain Climate Impacts and Vulnerabilities and Professor of Sustainable Land Use and Climate Change at Humboldt University Berlin, was appointed as a new member to the Executive Committee.
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“We need you”: UN climate chief to Potsdam climate scientists

10/13/2017 - Hundreds of millions of people will be affected by climate change impacts and their implications for health or migration already within the next few decades, sectors that so far often get overlooked in this context. This is one of the insights of the Impacts World Conference organised by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany this week. About 500 scientists from 67 countries were gathering at the conference with the title “Counting the true costs of climate change” to push climate impact research to the next level by better integrating socio-economic factors. At the same time, the institute celebrated its 25th anniversary hosting this meeting of the global impacts research community, in the spirit of its mission followed for a quarter century: further advancing scientific progress and communicating insights to stakeholders.
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“The Father of the 2 Degrees Limit”: Schellnhuber receives Blue Planet Prize

10/19/2017 - The world’s most prestigious award for pioneers in environmental science was given to Hans Joachim Schellnhuber this week in Tokyo. He is Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), a member of the Leibniz Association. The Blue Planet Prize, coming along with 50 million yen, honors outstanding thinkers who help to meet challenges of planetary dimensions. It is awarded by the Asahi Glass Foundation and handed over in presence of Japan’s Imperial Prince and Princess. Schellnhuber received the prize for establishing a new field of science, Earth System Analysis, and introducing most influential concepts including the notion of tipping elements in the climate system. The second recipient is Gretchen Daily of Stanford University, USA, who was honored for her research about biodiversity and natural capital.
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Successful earliest forecast of onset and withdrawal of the Indian Summer Monsoon

10/18/2017 – For the second year in a row, a team of scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) successfully predicted the onset and withdrawal of the Indian Summer Monsoon in the central part of India more than a month in advance. The PIK-results have just been confirmed by factual dates of onset and withdrawal of the monsoon determined by the Indian Meteorological Department. While meteorological services currently forecast the monsoon onset only two weeks in advance, the long-term forecast project lead by Elena Surovyatkina predicts the onset date 40 days in advance, and the withdrawal date 70 days in advance and is therewith the earliest prediction method of the monsoon for the central part of India.
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Sustainability Network SDSN discusses global responsibility and the upcoming legislative term

10/16/2017 - Leading experts for sustainable development from Germany will gather at the meeting of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Germany in Berlin to discuss the implementation of sustainable development targets (SDGs) with participants from industry, politics, and civil society. The meeting on October 26th focuses on the international responsibility of Germany, particularly in regard to the newly elected Bundestag.
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Counting the true costs of climate change: Impacts World Conference in Potsdam

10/11/2017 - Destabilizing the climate can also destabilize societies. Global warming impacts cause substantial economic damages, hurts human health in many ways, influences the drivers of human migration, and it can jeopardize development for many of the world’s poor. To investigate effects in these four areas, close to 500 researchers will meet on 11-13 October in Potsdam, Germany. Counting the true costs of climate change – this is the conference title – is quite a challenge since the social costs in particular are sometimes hard to calculate and also come in terms of human suffering. It is as part of this conference that the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) will also celebrate its 25th anniversary, a quarter of a century of advancing insights into the interaction between humankind and the Earth System.
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Formation of coal almost turned our planet into a snowball

2017/10/10 - While burning coal today causes Earth to overheat, about 300 million years ago the formation of that same coal brought our planet close to global glaciation. For the first time, scientists show the massive effect in a study published in the renowned Proceedings of the US Academy of Sciences. When trees in vast forests died during a time called the Carboniferous and the Permian, the carbon dioxide (CO2) they took up from the atmosphere while growing got buried; the plants’ debris over time formed most of the coal that today is used as fossil fuel. Consequently, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere sank drastically and Earth cooled down to a degree it narrowly escaped what scientists call a ‘snowball state’.
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Turning the Climate Tide by 2020

06/28/2017 - The world needs high-speed climate action for an immediate bending-down of the global greenhouse-gas emissions curve, leading experts caution. Aggressive reduction of fossil-fuel usage is the key to averting devastating heat extremes and unmanageable sea level rise, the authors argue in a comment published in the renowned scientific journal Nature this week. In the run-up to the G20 summit of the planet’s leading economies, the article sets six milestones for a clean industrial revolution. This call for strong short-term measures complements the longer-term 'carbon law' approach introduced earlier this year by some of the current co-authors, including the Potsdam Institute’s Director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, in the equally eminent journal Science. Thus a full narrative of deep decarbonization emerges.
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Environment Council SRU: coal phase-out in three steps

10/02/2017 - In a new statement the German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU) argues for a complete phase-out from coal power generation within 20 years. The forthcoming legislative term offered the last chance to set the course for an appropriate implementation of the Paris climate targets in Germany, according to the committee to which Wolfgang Lucht of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) belongs as well.
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Online Course on Climate Change, Risks and Challenges now in English

10/01/2017 - How will climate change affect our lifes? What are the consequences? How can we mitigate climate change? These questions will be explored by scientists from leading German institutes during the interdisciplinary online course ClimateMOOC. The “Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)” is addressed to everybody interested and aims to impart a profound understanding of the climate system and climate change.
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Investigating teleconnections of weather extremes: GOTHAM Summer School

09/22/2017 - To investigate teleconnections and their role in causing extreme weather events, twenty-five young scientists from all over the world have been gathering this week at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Firstly, when the weather is changing in one place on Earth, this can influence rain or wind or temperatures in another distant place. Investigating this issue using cutting-edge mathematics is front and centre at this year’s GOTHAM summer school – Globally Observed Teleconnections and their role and representation in Hierarchies of Atmospheric Models.
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Winter cold extremes linked to high-altitude polar vortex weakening

09/22/2017 - When the strong winds that circle the Arctic slacken, cold polar air can escape and cause extreme winter chills in parts of the Northern hemisphere. A new study finds that these weak states have become more persistent over the past four decades and can be linked to cold winters in Russia and Europe. It is the first to show that changes in winds high up in the stratosphere substantially contributed to the observed winter cooling trend in northern Eurasia. While it is still a subject of research how the Arctic under climate change impacts the rest of the world, this study lends further support that a changing Arctic impacts the weather across large swaths of the Northern Hemisphere population centers.
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Ending tax breaks after the diesel scandal

09/19/2017 - In response to the diesel scandal, the diesel tax advantage should be completely abandoned within the European Union (EU). In Germany, for example, diesel would then be about 20 cents per liter more expensive at the pump. In return, however, this measure would allow Germany but also France to reduce the emissions of CO2 and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by about 10 percent over five years. This is because diesel drivers in particular are much more sensitive to fuel price changes than previously assumed: a price hike of 20 cents per liter would lower their overall consumption by an estimated 14 percent.
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A Brief History of CO2 Emissions – new film online

Extending periods of changing weather, rising sea levels, shifting vegetation zones, even economic losses, social upheaval, and migration of people across the world – these are the effects of global CO2 emissions. The short film “A Brief History of CO2 Emissions” shows how greenhouse gases impact global warming – and our future. The animated short film of the Urban Complexity Lab and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) is now available online.
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Cities and Climate Conference: International experts discuss a sustainable future for cities

09/14/2017 - More than 150 city experts from all over the world will come together next week in Potsdam to discuss the future of our cities under climate change. Cities are at the center of the global climate change problem. Not only are they the origin of large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, they are also vastly affected by the impacts of climate change – like extreme weather events that generate high socioeconomic costs. The ‘Cities and Climate Conference 2017’, which is taking place from the 19th-21st of September 2017 in Potsdam, will therefore discuss how cities of the future can become more sustainable and resilient.
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Edenhofer ranked as Germany's top climate economist

09/13/2017 Amongst Germany's most important economists Ottmar Edenhofer once again scored excellently in a ranking done by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), one of the country's most influential newspapers. He turned out to be the only researcher investigating climate and environmental issues in the group of top economists. For the third time in a row he improved, moving up to the 11th rank this year.
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Climate change and the German election campaign

Hurricane Irma hit the US state of Florida this weekend. At the same time, climate change seems to be no issue along the German election campaign. The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research issued a statement on these topics by its Director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber:
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Hurricane Irma: "energy from ocean heat"

09/06/2017 - Hurricane Irma is threatening territories in the Caribbean. The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) issued a statement by Anders Levermann - he's one of the research domain co-chairs at PIK, a Professor at the University of Potsdam and Adjunct Scientist at Columbia University's LDEO, New York.
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Potsdam Summer School explores the future of cities

09/04/2017 - The rapid pace of change around the world is presenting humankind and human environments with tremendous challenges. What solutions and strategies can we employ to future-proof our cities in the age of climate change? Experts from 30 countries will meet to discuss these issues with leading sustainability researchers at the 2017 Potsdam Summer School on 4 – 13 September. Their findings will be presented to the public in a memorandum on 13 September.
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Heavy rains not just in the US: current Monsoon in South Asia

08/31/2017 - Devastating rainfall is being observed not just in Texas, USA, but also due to the Monsoon in South Asia. On this issue, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research issued a statement by Anders Levermann from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Professor at the University of Potsdam and Adjunct Scientist at Columbia University's LDEO, New York:
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Electricity consumption in Europe will shift under climate change

28.08.2017 - Rising temperatures due to greenhouse gas emissions will fundamentally change electricity consumption patterns in Europe. A team of scientists from Germany and the United States now analyzed what unchecked future warming means for Europe’s electricity demand: daily peak loads in Southern Europe will likely increase and overall consumption will shift from Northern Europe to the South. Further, the majority of countries will see a shift of temperature-driven annual peak demand from winter to summer by the end of this century. This would put additional strain on European power grids, the study now published in the renowned US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) suggests.
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Storm Harvey: impacts likely worsened due to global warming

08/28/2017 - Tropical storm "Harvey" is causing severe flooding in Texas. Because many people are asking if there is a link to climate change, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research issued a statement by its Earth System Analysis Co-Chair Stefan Rahmstorf. "Harvey" was not caused by climate change, he says. Yet its impacts – the storm surge, and especially the extreme rainfall – very likely worsened due to human-caused global warming.
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Importance of solar energy underestimated by a factor of three

08/28/2017 - The growth of solar energy has been grossly underestimated in the results of the models of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Costs have dropped and infrastructures expanded much faster than even the most optimistic models had assumed. A new study led by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) - founded by Stiftung Mercator and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) - shows that in 2050, the percentage of photovoltaics in the global power supply could be three times higher than previously projected. According to the study, published in the journal Nature Energy, the share of solar energy will likely range between 30 and 50 percent, instead of 5 to 17 percent, as suggested before—even if the global demand for electricity continues to rise.
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Better farm water management can help to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals

07/20/2017 - Water use for food production today largely occurs on the expense of ecosystems. About 40 percent of the water used for irrigation are unsustainable withdrawals that violate so-called environmental flows of rivers, a new study shows for the first time. If these volumes were to be re-allocated to the ecosystems, crop yields would drop by at least 10 percent on half of all irrigated land, especially in Central and South Asia. This points to a tradeoff between water and food UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, improvement of irrigation practices could sustainably compensate for such losses at global scale. More integrated strategies, including rainwater management, could even achieve a 10 percent net gain of production.
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AGU prize for climate communication awarded to Stefan Rahmstorf

07/20/2017 - The World's largest organization of Earth scientists will honor Stefan Rahmstorf with its Climate Communication Prize. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) gives this award for outstanding promotion of scientific literacy, clarity of message and efforts to foster understanding of science-based values as they relate to the implications of global warming. The physicist and oceanographer Rahmstorf, co-chair of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany, is the first scientist outside the US to receive the renowned prize.
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Unabated climate change would reverse the development gains in Asia: report

14/07/2017 - Unabated climate change would bring devastating consequences to countries in Asia and the Pacific, which could severely affect their future growth, reverse current development gains, and degrade quality of life, according to a report produced by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
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From dry to wet: Rainfall might abruptly increase in Africa’s Sahel

06/07/2017 - Climate change could turn one of Africa's driest regions into a very wet one by suddenly switching on a Monsoon circulation. For the first time, scientists find evidence in computer simulations for a possible abrupt change to heavy seasonal rainfall in the Sahel, a region that so far has been characterized by extreme dryness. They detect a self-amplifying mechanism which might kick-in beyond 1.5-2 degrees Celsius of global warming – which happens to be the limit for global temperature rise set in the Paris Climate Agreement. Although crossing this new tipping point is potentially beneficial, the change could be so big, it would be a major adaptation challenge for an already troubled region.
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PIK ranked among top five climate think tanks worldwide

07/05/2017 - The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) was again ranked among the best climate think tanks worldwide. The new Climate Think Tank Ranking by the International Center for Climate Governance (ICCG) places PIK among the top five climate think tanks globally and among the top three of climate thinks tanks in Europe. Altogether the ranking considers 240 cutting-edge institutions working in the field of climate change economics and policy. Based on a solid quantitative methodology and analytical data, the ICCG lists non-university affiliated think tanks in an absolute and a standardized ranking – the first measures the think tank’s efficiency in per capita/researcher terms, whilst the latter measures performance regardless of their efficiency and hence size.
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Why Climate Policy matters for the G20 finance ministers’ agenda

06/30/2017 - In order to stay below the 2 °C guardrail set in the Paris Agreement, climate policy should be integrated with the G20 finance ministers’ agenda. Finance ministers should consider the merits of carbon pricing for sound fiscal policy and thereby stimulate investments in carbon-free infrastructure. “It is rational for G20 finance ministers to embrace climate policy, even if climate change is not their primary concern,” writes a team of authors led by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) in an article published in the new issue of the journal Nature Climate Change. In their article “Aligning climate policy with finance ministers’ G20 agenda”, Ottmar Edenhofer, Chief Economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Director of MCC, together with MCC Secretary General Brigitte Knopf and colleagues from other institutions argue that investments in fossil fuels have become more risky in the post-Paris world.
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Dinosaurs, a climate archive and a time machine - full commitment for the "smartest night"

06/29/2017 - Everything was just right: a mild summer evening, thousands of guests and open doors to architectural beauties, which gave insig hts into the results and methods of top research. At the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), visitors to the Long Night of Sciences were able to learn about climate change through guided tours, lectures and discussions with experts.
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