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Katja Frieler: Climate Impact Professorship at the University of Potsdam

06/05/2024 - Katja Frieler, head of the “Transformation Pathways” research department and the “Pathway-specific Climate Risks” division at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), took up the professorship for Climate Impacts at the University of Potsdam on April 1 this year.
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Credibility makes or breaks the price: political commitment in long-term climate policy key for effective EU emissions trading system

05/30/2024 - High policy credibility is crucial for carbon prices in the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS) to be high enough to efficiently incentivise emission reductions in the long term, a new study finds. A team of scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) shows that two consecutive ETS reforms elevated CO₂ prices from below 10 Euro per ton of CO₂ in 2017 to about 80 Euro per ton of CO₂ in 2022, not only by tightening the cap, but also by firming up political commitment to it. This effectively made firms act with more foresight, emitting less in the short term to store certificates for future use.
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Johan Rockström awarded Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement in Potsdam

05/21/2024 - PIK director Johan Rockström was awarded the 2024 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement in a festive ceremony held in Potsdam. Rockström received the world’s most prestigious environmental prize for his advancement of the Planetary Boundaries science and its importance and reach across the world. The USD $250,000 Prize recognises global leaders in environment and sustainability.
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From ocean currents to the energy transition: thousands visit PIK for Potsdam Science Day

05/04/2024 - Under the motto "Research. Discover. Join in.", the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), together with the other Telegrafenberg institutes, hosted this year's Potsdam Science Day. On the first Saturday in May 6,200 interested visitors came to find out about the work of researchers at PIK at information stands, lectures and hands-on experiments in the sunshine and spring-like temperatures.
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Climate change could become the most important driver of biodiversity loss by mid-century

04/26/2024 - Whereas global biodiversity has declined between 2 and 11 percent during the 20th century due to land-use change alone, climate change could become the main driver of biodiversity decline by the mid-21st century. That is the result of the largest modelling study of its kind by more than 50 scientists from over 40 institutions now published in the journal Science. The study was led by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), with contribution of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
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Girls' Day 2024 at PIK: Exciting insights into climate research

04/25/2024 - More than 15,000 options, around 135,000 spots available across Germany, more schoolgirls than ever before: this year's Girls' Day has set new records. At the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), 19 girls from Berlin and Brandenburg had the opportunity to take an exclusive look behind the scenes at the institute.
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Securing competitiveness of energy-intensive industries through structural change: The pulling power of renewables

04/23/2024 - Countries with limited potential for renewables could save up to 20 percent of costs for green steel and up to 40 percent for green chemicals from green hydrogen if they relocated their energy-intensive production and would import from countries where renewable energy is cheaper, finds a new study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). This ‘renewables pull’ would create strong incentives for businesses to invest in low-emission production facilities in these renewable-rich countries. Renewable-scarce countries could put all focus on down-stream production and refinement as the smart way to secure industrial competitiveness.
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PIK research among most cited papers in policy documents worldwide

04/19/2024 - Three research papers conducted by PIK director Johan Rockström are among the top ten most cited papers in policy documents. This is according to an analysis of data provided to the journal Nature.
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Digital ministers visit PIK

04/18/2024 - The digital ministers of the German federal states visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the other research institutes on the Telegrafenberg in the course of their constituent meeting. PIK Director Ottmar Edenhofer presented the work of PIK and provided insights into important research projects.
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38 trillion dollars in damages each year: World economy already committed to income reduction of 19 % due to climate change

04/17/2024 - Even if CO2 emissions were to be drastically cut down starting today, the world economy is already committed to an income reduction of 19 % until 2050 due to climate change, a new study published in “Nature” finds. These damages are six times larger than the mitigation costs needed to limit global warming to two degrees. Based on empirical data from more than 1,600 regions worldwide over the past 40 years, scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) assessed future impacts of changing climatic conditions on economic growth and their persistence.
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Stefan Rahmstorf honoured with Alfred Wegener medal

04/17/2024 - Stefan Rahmstorf, co-head of the research department on Earth System Analysis of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), receives the renowned Alfred Wegener Medal & Honorary Membership by the European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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Overview article - Is the Atlantic Overturning Circulation Approaching a Tipping Point?

04/11/2024 - Studies show that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) has already weakened as a result of anthropogenic climate change and is possible moving towards a tipping point. This current has a significant influence on climate, particularly in Europe. Stefan Rahmstorf, head of the Earth System Analysis research department at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), outlines the current state of research in a new overview article in the scientific journal Oceanography.
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PIK statement on the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in three climate cases

04/09/2024 - Do states violate the human rights of citizens if they do too little to combat climate change? The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled on this question today and issued a legal decision in three cases.
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Food matters: Healthy diets increase the economic and physical feasibility of 1.5°C

03/28/2024 - A global shift to a healthier, more sustainable diet could be a huge lever to limit global warming to 1.5°C, researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) find. The resulting reduction of greenhouse gas emissions would increase the available carbon budget compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, and allow to achieve the same climate outcome with less carbon dioxide removal and less stringent CO2 emissions reductions in the energy system. This would also reduce emission prices, energy prices and food expenditures.
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EU climate policy: How the EU could regulate carbon removal

03/28/2024 - For the EU to effectively remove large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere in the future, it is not only important to develop the technical capabilities but also to have a proper regulatory structure in place. In a new study, a research team led Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), presents an economically sound concept for this. A European carbon central bank that is to be established plays a key role in the concept.
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From knowledge to action: "10 Must Knows" as a guide to preserving biodiversity

03/25/2024 - From as yet undiscovered biodiversity to resilient forests and the impact of food consumption on nature: 64 experts have now published their knowledge and recommendations in the form of "10 Must Knows from Biodiversity Science" for 2024. The Leibniz Research Network Biodiversity's new report provides policymakers and society with concrete ways to effectively conserve and sustainably use biodiversity at the local, national, and European levels and thereby also mitigate climate change. With this publication, the researchers contribute current scientific facts to the debate on the German National Biodiversity Strategy, which is to be adopted before the next United Nations Biodiversity Conference in autumn 2024.
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Transforming energy, land use, production and consumption to safeguard Global Commons

03/22/2024 - Transforming energy, land use, production and consumption is key to safeguard Global Commons and to keep them within the safe space of the planetary boundaries. This is the result of the new Global Commons Stewardship report with contribution of researchers from the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research (PIK) and PIK Director Johan Rockström. It delivers an integrated assessment of the effects of those transformations and how they interact with each other.
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Press Release

Climate change risk to price stability: Higher average temperatures increase inflation

03/21/2024 - Rising temperatures could drive food inflation up by 3.2 percentage points and overall inflation by 1.18 percentage points annually by 2035, according to a new study by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the European Central Bank. The impact spans across all nations, with hot regions and summers being most affected and suggests that future warming will worsen these effects.
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Not in my backyard? Wind turbines have little effect on US property values

03/19/2024 - The value of houses in the United States within a wind turbine’s viewshed drop only slightly and temporarily due to the disrupted view, a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) shows. The effect is smaller the further away the recently installed turbines are, and fades over time. The researcher’s findings shed light on the dynamics between renewable energy infrastructure and local property values, providing valuable insights for sustainable and community-friendly energy development.
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Earth’s freshwater cycle out of stable state

03/04/2024 - Human activity has pushed variation in the planet’s freshwater cycle well outside of its pre-industrial range. An international research team, including scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and PIK Director Johan Rockström, found that the planetary boundary for freshwater was surpassed by the mid-twentieth century.
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Hurricanes and power grids: Eliminating large-scale outages with a new approach

03/01/2024 - Large scale-power outages caused by tropical cyclones can be prevented almost entirely if a small but critical set of power lines is protected against storm damages, a new study published in “Nature Energy” finds. Scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research PIK developed a new method that can be used to identify those critical lines and increase the system’s resilience. Based on a model of the Texas power grid on the US Gulf Coast, their analysis reveals how large-scale power outages actually occur and how to prevent them. The Texas power grid is frequently hit by hurricanes and weaker tropical storms, a risk that is expected to substantially increase under global warming.
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“An invaluable contribution to our planet’s welfare”: Johan Rockström awarded Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement

02/29/2024 - Johan Rockström will be awarded with the 2024 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, a prestigious prize for scientific achievements often regarded as the ’Nobel Prize for Environment’. The scientific Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research PIK receives the honor for his pioneering work on the Planetary Boundaries framework, the science defining the safe operating space for humanity on Earth, which provides the boundaries for world development and a basis for human justice.
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BMBF State Secretary Judith Pirscher visits PIK

02/29/2024 - State Secretary Judith Pirscher from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) to find out about current developments. The exchange with administrative director Bettina Hörstrup and scientific director Ottmar Edenhofer, centred on topics such as policy options and on the path to climate neutrality and the institute's development.
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Edenhofer on the presentation of the German government's Carbon Management Strategy

02/26/2024 - Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Robert Habeck, recently presented key points for a Carbon Management Strategy and a draft law based on it to amend the Carbon Dioxide Storage Act as well as the key points for a Long-term Strategy for Negative Emissions to deal with unavoidable remaining emissions. Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), was invited to the launch of the concepts and analysed them from a scientific point of view.
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Citizens' Assembly on nutrition recommends steps towards a more sustainable diet

02/21/2024 - Free lunches for children, conscious shopping made easy with a mandatory government label and a mandatory passing on of edible food by food retailers - these are three key recommendations from the German Parliament's first Citizens' Assembly "Nutrition in Transition". On 20 February 2024, the committee presented its proposals to the Bundestag. The Citizens' Assembly's Scientific Advisory Board, which includes Hermann Lotze-Campen, Head of the Department “Climate Resilience” at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research PIK, analysed the results from their perspective.
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Electrification or hydrogen? Both have distinct roles in the European energy transition

02/16/2024 - A key step to achieving climate neutrality in the European Union is to rapidly shift from fossil fuels to electric technologies powered by renewable energies, a new study shows. At the same time, hydrogen produced from electricity will also be indispensable in hard-to-electrify sectors such as aviation, shipping and chemicals. By 2050, electrification and hydrogen are the key strategies to reach climate neutrality based on renewable power. Future EU transformation scenarios modeled by scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research PIK investigate the roles of electrification and hydrogen and find that shares of 42-60% for electricity and 9-26% for hydrogen-based energy are required in total energy consumption by 2050.
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From Planetary Boundaries to Global Commons: “PIK Research Days” with latest science update

02/15/2024 – From planetary boundaries and tipping points to global commons and the economic implications of climate change, from methods like integrated assessment modeling or machine learning to the science-policy interface: The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research gathered for its traditional in-house conference, the “PIK Research Days”. The two-day event was packed with talks, panel discussions and elevator pitches about current and planned research.
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Amazon rainforest at the threshold: loss of forest worsens climate change

02/14/2024 - The Amazon rainforest could approach a tipping point, which could lead to a large-scale collapse with serious implications for the global climate system. A new Nature study by an international research team including scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact research (PIK) reveals that up to 47 percent of the Amazonian forest is threatened and identifies climatic and land-use thresholds that should not be breached to keep the Amazon resilient.
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Increasing nitrogen fertilization could pollute rivers and worsen water scarcity

02/06/2024 – In the 2050s, one-third of the world's rivers could be affected by water scarcity or be polluted by nitrogen. This is the result of a study by an international team of scientists, including researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and led by scientists of Wageningen University. They assessed the scarcity of clean water under ongoing climate change and show how water pollution from intensified agriculture and untreated sewage could limit clean water supply.
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Transforming food systems could create multi-trillion dollars of economic benefits every year

01/29/2024 - Transforming food systems around the world would lead to socio-economic benefits summing up to 5 to 10 trillion USD a year, shows a new global policy report produced by leading economists and scientists of the Food System Economics Commission (FSEC). The most ambitious and comprehensive study of food system economics so far underlines that food systems are currently destroying more value than they create and that an overhaul of food system policies is urgently needed. On the other hand, the cost of transformation would be much lower than the potential benefits, offering a better life to hundreds of millions of people.
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