Latest News

News

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 of Climate Impact Research (PIK) and PIK Director Johan Rockström, found that the planetary boundary for freshwater was surpassed by the mid-twentieth century.
Read More
Press Release

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.
Read More
Press Release

“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.
Read More
News

BMBF State Secretary Judith Pirscher visits PIK

29/01/2024 - 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.
Read More
News

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.
Read More
News

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.
Read More
Press Release

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.
Read More
News

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.
Read More
Press Release

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.
Read More
News

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.
Read More
Press Release

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.
Read More
News

Destabilising interactions in the Earth system: How climate tipping elements interact

01/26/2024 - Beyond 2°C of global warming, the risk of one climate tipping element triggering other tipping processes in the Earth’s climate system strongly increases. This is the result of a new study by an international team of scientists. They mapped out the current state of literature on the interactions between tipping elements and find that most of them are destabilising, further weakening the climate system.
Read More
News

Path to clean energy: EU City Calculator

01/24/2024 – A new digital tool designed to help cities to become climate neutral has been launched, with the support of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The EU City Calculator is a free, open source online application, allowing local councils and other stakeholders to visualise and simulate low-carbon scenarios for their towns and cities.
Read More
News

B-EPICC final conference: Reducing the gap between climate research and its application

01/23/2024 - From 22nd January, guests from the B-EPICC partner countries Brazil, Ethiopia, Peru, Tanzania and India are coming together at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research for the final conference week of the “Brazil East Africa Peru India Climate Capacities” project (B-EPICC). The international project identified how results from state-of-the-art climate impact research can be applied to national and local needs, particularly regarding agriculture, hydrology, biodiversity, and migration issues in the partner countries.
Read More
Press Release

Planetary Commons: Fostering global cooperation to safeguard critical Earth system functions

01/22/2024 - Tipping elements of the Earth system should be considered global commons, researchers argue in a new paper published in the renowned journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Global commons cannot - as they currently do- only include the parts of the planet outside of national borders, like the high seas or Antarctica. They must also include all the environmental systems that regulate the functioning and state of the planet, namely all systems on Earth we all depend on, irrespective on where in the world we live. This calls for a new level of transnational cooperation, leading experts in legal, social and Earth system sciences say. To limit risks for human societies and secure critical Earth system functions they propose a new framework of planetary commons to guide governance of the planet.
Read More
News

EU climate Advisory Board: EU needs to significantly accelerate its emission reductions

01/18/2024 - More efforts are needed across all sectors to achieve the EU climate objectives from 2030 to 2050, states a new report by the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change (ESABCC). Specifically, the report “Towards EU climate neutrality: progress, policy gaps and opportunities” identifies main gaps in the EU’s post-2030 climate policy, with providing a stable investment outlook for renewables and the revision of the EU energy taxation as pressing issues.
Read More
News

Covid-19, climate change, armed conflicts: world’s crises can lead to interconnected polycrisis

01/17/2024 – The world is currently experiencing a worsening polycrisis, caused by an entanglement and nonlinear amplification of many of the world’s crises, like the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and armed conflicts such as Russia’s war on Ukraine. This is the result of a new paper authored by an international team of scientists, including PIK Director Johan Rockström. The researchers establish a substantive definition for a polycrisis and deliver a theoretical framework to better understand and address the entangled driving mechanisms behind contemporary global crises.
Read More
News

Resonant planetary waves contributed to Pacific Northwest Heat Dome event of 2021

01/17/2024 - Recent decades have witnessed unprecedented heat waves with severe repercussions for human society. However, the causes for the extremity of some of these heat events are not yet understood. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) now show, that the severe 'heat dome' incident in the north-western region of the US in 2021 was partly caused by the quasi-resonant amplification of planetary waves, a theory originally developed by the late renowned PIK scientist Vladimir Petoukhov. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences PNAS today, the findings hold the potential for more skillful predictions of potentially devastating future weather extremes.
Read More
News

4 of the 10 climate science papers most referred to in news and social media authored by PIK researchers

01/10/2024 - 4 of the top 10 peer-reviewed climate science papers most referred to in news and social media in 2023 featured authors from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), a ranking by the website Carbon Brief based on Altmetric scores reveils. Altmetric tracks how often research papers from academic journals are mentioned in online news media, blogs or on social media platforms. The metric is an indicator for public perception of scientific publications.
Read More
News

More rain, fewer droughts – rainfall effects from targeted forestation can reduce climate change

01/10/2024 - By prioritizing increases in rainfall, forestation programs may not only mitigate global climate change itself but also reduce its concrete negative effects such as droughts. That is the conclusion of a new study by a team of researchers including the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
Read More
News

Fred Hattermann appointed as Honorary Professor in Eberswalde

01/09/2024 - Fred Hattermann, Working Group Leader of 'Hydroclimatic Risks' at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, has been appointed to a Honorary Professorship of Climate Change and Hydrology by the Department of Forestry and Environment at Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development end of last year.
Read More
Statement

Real progress, yet transition away from fossil fuels too vague: PIK Assessment on COP28 closing

12/13/2023 - After two weeks of negotiations, the UN climate summit COP28 in Dubai closed. More than 70.000 people from all over the world took part in the conference focused on the first Global Stocktake of climate plans and further steps for international climate action from 30 November to 13 December. Among them were PIK Directors Ottmar Edenhofer and Johan Rockström.
Read More
Press Release

500+ pages, 200+ researchers: Global Tipping Points Report delivers comprehensive assessment of tipping point risks and societal opportunities

12/06/2023 - Tipping points pose some of the biggest risks to our planet’s life-support systems and the stability of our societies. In an unprecedented effort by the scientific community, researchers have now published a comprehensive report on Earth system tipping points and their potential impacts and opportunities for societal change. More than 200 scientists from around the world contributed to the ‘Global Tipping Points Report’. The report with more than 500 pages provides an authoritative guide to the state of knowledge on tipping points, explores opportunities for accelerating much needed transformations, and outlines options for a new governance of tipping point risks and opportunities.
Read More
News

CO2 emissions at record high in 2023

12/05/2023 - Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use will amount to 36.8 billion tonnes in 2023, a record high that exceeds the 2022 level by 1.1% - the latest Global Carbon Budget report finds. This is a long way off the significant reductions that are needed to reach the Paris Agreement climate goals.
Read More
News

Chancellor Olaf Scholz visits PIK and GFZ

12/04/2023 - During a visit to Potsdam's Telegrafenberg early Monday morning, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Brandenburg's Research Minister Manja Schüle spoke with researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ). The discussion in the Historical Library centred on the potential and challenges of geothermal energy and underground hydrogen storage.
Read More
News

10 New Insights in Climate Science at COP28: Rapid fossil fuels phase-out crucial for minimising 1.5°C overshoot

12/03/2023 - Today, global experts in social and natural sciences have unveiled the annual 10 New Insights in Climate Science report. The report represents the efforts of 67 leading researchers, including several scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), to synthesize the latest insights in climate change research in order to help inform negotiations at the ongoing COP28 and policy implementation through 2024 and beyond.
Read More
Press Release

1.5°C pathways can still be achieved, combining fairness and global climate protection

12/02/2023 - Global warming can still be limited to 1.5°C by 2100 while ensuring that the poor are not hit hardest by climate policies and climate impacts. This is achieved by immediately introducing broad carbon pricing together with re-distributive policies using carbon pricing revenues and further measures to reduce energy consumption, accelerate technological transitions, and transform the land sector. The results from multiple integrated assessment models (IAMs) show that a combination of producer and consumer-oriented measures can work together to rapidly reduce emissions. The comprehensive results on 1.5°C pathways in line with the Paris Agreement are synthesised in a report of the European project NAVIGATE. The new report presented at COP28 provides a blueprint for achieving a rapid, fair and efficient transformation to net zero emissions.
Read More
News

PIK expertise at COP 28 in Dubai

30/11/2023 - The major review of all climate policy measures planned to date and the organisation of the climate fund are among the central topics of the 28th UN World Climate Conference in Dubai. From 30 November to 12 December, delegates from the UN countries will discuss further steps, including the climate fund agreed at COP27, which is intended to help poorer countries cope with the damage caused by climate change. Progress on the climate policy goals and measures agreed in the Paris Agreement will also be reviewed as part of the "Global Stocktake". More than 70,000 people from all over the world are taking part in the conference, including experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
Read More
Press Release

Future floods: Global warming intensifies heavy rain – even more than expected

11/27/2023 - The intensity and frequency of extreme rainfall increases exponentially with global warming, a new study finds. The analysis by researchers from the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research (PIK) shows that state-of-the-art climate models significantly underestimate how much extreme rainfall increases under global warming – meaning that extreme rainfall could increase quicker than climate models suggest.
Read More
Press Release

A fifth higher: Tropical cyclones substantially raise the Social Cost of Carbon

11/23/2023 - Extreme events like tropical cyclones have immediate impacts, but also long-term implications for societies. A new study published in the journal Nature Communications now finds: Accounting for the long-term impacts of these storms raises the global Social Cost of Carbon by more than 20 percent, compared to the estimates currently used for policy evaluations. This increase is mainly driven by the projected rise of tropical-cyclone damages to the major economies of India, USA, China, Taiwan, and Japan under global warming.
Read More