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Making climate impact science more accessible to the public: ISIpedia launch

06/15/2021 - Decision-makers on all levels are provided with a new tool to tackle the climate challenge. Data and explanations on global warming impacts – from floods to droughts - are made more accessible to the public by a team of 12 international research institutes. Today, they launch the online portal ISIpedia which features science explained by the scientists, breaking down global studies to the country-level, for both adaptation and mitigation planning.
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Tackling biodiversity and climate crises together: First joint IPCC & IPBES report with PIK contribution

06/15/2021 Two Leading UN science organizations, one report: For the first time, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) have joined forces and published an analysis that looks at the interaction of climate change and biodiversity loss. Their key result: Neither will be successfully resolved unless both are tackled together. This is the message of a workshop report, published by 50 of the world’s leading biodiversity and climate experts, amongst them Alexander Popp from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
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Limiting climate risks for finance: Central banks and science publish scenarios

06/07/2021 - To improve climate related risk management in the financial sector and facilitate a smooth transition toward a sustainable economy, over 90 central banks and financial market supervisors organized in the Network for Greening the Financial System joined forces with science. Together, researchers and financial experts now published an updated set of scenarios of an orderly transition, delayed transition, and climate policy failure. They show how early greenhouse gas emissions reductions can minimize both physical and financial risk. In contrast, delayed action or no action would inevitably drive up costs in the medium to long term. The analysis provides sectoral and regional detail to help financial institutions adapt their investment strategies.
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Grand Cross of Merit of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for Schellnhuber

06/07/2021 - Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founding director and emeritus of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research PIK, today received the Grand Cross of Merit of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany today. Under the motto "Nature - Environment - Climate Protection", Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier honored Schellnhuber and five other citizens with the Order of Merit in Bellevue Palace for their outstanding commitment to environmental protection.
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Tipping elements can destabilize each other, leading to climate domino effects

06/03/2021 - Under global warming, tipping elements in the Earth system can destabilize each other and eventually lead to climate domino effects. The ice sheets on Greenland and West Antarctica are potential starting points for tipping cascades, a novel network analysis reveals. The Atlantic overturning circulation would then act as a transmitter, and eventually elements like the Amazon rainforest would be impacted. The consequences for people would reach from sea-level rise to biosphere degradation. Interactions in the network can lower the critical temperature thresholds beyond which individual tipping elements begin destabilizing on the long-run, according to the study – the risk already increases significantly for warming of 1.5°C to 2°C, hence within the temperature range of the Paris Agreement.
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FirEUrisk: PIK joins EU project to analyze and manage wildfires

06/03/2021 - The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), along with 38 partner institutions from 19 countries, will develop a science-based strategy to manage, monitor and analyze major forest fires in Europe. Funded by the European Union, the FirEUrisk project brings together researchers, practitioners, policymakers and citizens to study the vulnerability and resilience of communities and countries to wildfires in Northern, Central and Mediterranean Europe. The overarching goal of the project is to adapt fire management strategies to expected climate and socio-economic changes.
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Understanding climate-related security risks: Weathering Risk presents a new methodology

06/03/2021 - Climate change threatens peace and security – ‘Weathering Risk’, a scalable assessment approach, anticipates and addresses the increasing risk of conflicts and instability in a changing climate. Developed by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and adelphi, Weathering Risk combines quantitative and qualitative research to identify climate-related security risks and actionable responses to avoid them. The assessments will be piloted in various national contexts, among others in Mali, Sudan and the Pacific.
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Delayed monsoon in Delhi: early warning for farmers

05/27/2021 - The arrival of the monsoon in Delhi is likely to be delayed by two weeks, according to a newly developed early forecast for India’s capital. Created at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the Monsoon forecast method has been used successfully already five years in a row for Central India and has now been extended to the North-Western region. The long-term monsoon forecast that covers 40 days in advance could support government and farmers in important decision making processes and help them to better prepare for the vagaries of nature.
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"Factsheet Climate Change": Leopoldina publishes new climate dossier with input from PIK researchers

05/20/2021 - A new publication of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina summarises the causes and consequences of climate change in an easy-to-understand way and discusses measures to stabilise the climate. On 17 pages, the factsheet presents the current state of climate impact research clearly and concisely - also thanks to the contributions of four PIK researchers.
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Parts of Greenland may be on the verge of tipping: new early-warning signals detected

05/18/2021 - Scientists have detected new early-warning signals indicating that the central-western part of the Greenland Ice Sheet may undergo a critical transition relatively soon. Because of rising temperatures, a new study by researchers from Germany and Norway shows, the destabilization of the ice sheet has begun and the process of melting may escalate already at limited warming levels. A tipping of the ice sheet would substantially increase long-term global sea level rise.
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Science podcast launched: "Sustain Ability. The Potsdam Dialogues"

05/18/2021 - Science for your ears: The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) has launched its very own podcast. The dialogue series ‘Sustain Ability. The Potsdam Dialogues - Science for a Safe Tomorrow’ brings together leading thinkers and doers to discuss how to stabilize our climate and advance the transition to sustainability. The first episode features EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans and PIK Director Johan Rockström.
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Press Release

Few realistic scenarios left to limit global warming to 1.5°C

05/14/2021 - Of the over 400 climate scenarios assessed in the 1.5°C report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), only around 50 scenarios avoid significantly overshooting 1.5°C. Of those only around 20 make realistic assumptions on mitigation options, for instance the rate and scale of carbon removal from the atmosphere or extent of tree planting, a new study shows. All 20 scenarios need to pull at least one mitigation lever at "challenging" rather than "reasonable" levels, according to the analysis. Hence the world faces a high degree of risk of overstepping the 1.5°C limit. The realistic window for meeting the 1.5°C target is very rapidly closing.
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Hydrogen instead of electrification? Potentials and risks for climate targets

05/06/2021 - Hydrogen-based fuels should primarily be used in sectors such as aviation or industrial processes that cannot be electrified, finds a team of researchers. Producing these fuels is too inefficient, costly and their availability too uncertain, to broadly replace fossil fuels for instance in cars or heating houses. For most sectors, directly using electricity for instance in battery electric cars or heat pumps makes more economic sense. Universally relying on hydrogen-based fuels instead and keeping combustion technologies threatens to lock in a further fossil fuel dependency and greenhouse gas emissions.
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Melting ice: Limiting global warming to 1.5°C could reduce sea level rise by 50 percent

05/05/2021 - If efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels are successful, the overall sea level rise caused by melting of ice would be effectively halved. This is the central finding of a new study by an international team of researchers – including Ronja Reese, Ricarda Winkelmann, Torsten Albrecht and Reinhard Calov from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research – which examines the land ice contribution to sea levels in the 21st century arising from the world’s glaciers and the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.
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Urgent Call for action after ‘Our Planet, Our Future’ Summit

04 /29/2021 - Nobel laureates and academics participating in the scientific sessions of the first Nobel Prize Summit have issued a statement calling for urgent action to protect our common future on planet Earth.
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Statement

PIK STATEMENT on the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court on the German climate protection law

04/29/2021 - In a ruling today, the Federal Constitutional Court obliged the German government to define more precisely the reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions for the period after 2030. Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change comments:
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Press Release

Fair climate policy could help reduce extreme poverty

04/27/2021 - Ambitious climate policies could help to reduce extreme poverty in developing countries. This is the result of a new study by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) – a result that is in contrast to wide-spread assumptions that climate change mitigation comes with a trade-off for poverty reduction. To turn climate policies and poverty reduction into a win-win situation for planet and people, a progressive redistribution of emission pricing revenues and a fair international burden sharing are key.
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The new EU climate target will increase carbon prices and could phase out coal power in Europe as early as 2030

04/27/2021 - Tightening the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS) in line with the EU Green Deal would dramatically speed up the decarbonization of Europe's power sector – and likely cause a demise of the coal industry. In a new study a team of researchers from Potsdam, Germany has quantified the substantial shifts Europe's electricity system is about to undergo when the newly decided EU climate target gets implemented. Higher carbon prices, the authors show, are not only an inevitable step to cut emissions – they will also lead much faster to an inexpensive electricity system powered by renewable energies.
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“World’s top climate scientists”: many PIK researchers feature prominently in Reuters ranking

04/27/2021 - According to a new list published by Reuters, 8 of the top 10 German climate researchers are based at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The “hot list”, compiled in cooperation with the British-based technology company Digital Sciences, is a combination of three rankings detailing the number of research papers scientists have published on topics related to climate change, the field citation ratio to measure the influence of scientists’ work among their peers, and the attention the scholars and their research have garnered in the media. While the methodology is not perfect, depending on specific key words, it certainly is interesting.
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Biden's Climate Summit: leaders and journalists seek out PIK's expertise

04/24/2021 - In the past week, at the invitation of US-President Joe Biden, heads of states from 40 countries as well as scientists and civil society actors came together at the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate. In the run-up and the aftermath of the historic event, in which many states, including the US, announced new ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, countless media outlets sought out PIK's scientific expertise. In various interviews with German newspapers and TV stations, PIK director Ottmar Edenhofer put the intended goal as well as the results of the event into perspective, while PIK director Johan Rockström made an appearance at the Leaders Summit, when a new Netflix documentary detailing his scientific journey was previewed.
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Netflix film “Breaking boundaries” with PIK Director Johan Rockström and David Attenborough: preview at Biden climate summit

04/23/2021 – A preview of the feature documentary “Breaking boundaries: The science of our planet” that follows the scientific journey of PIK Director Johan Rockström was presented exclusively yesterday to World Leaders at President Biden’s virtual climate summit. It will be officially launching this summer.
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Girls' Day gives schoolgirls from all over Germany an insight into climate impact research

04/22/2021 – On Girls' Day - 'Future Prospects for Girls' this year, schoolgirls were once again given an insight into the work at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) to discover career prospects in science. Due to the pandemic, this year's Girls' Day took place digitally, allowing for the first time girls from all over Germany to get to know PIK instead of usually just girls from Potsdam and Berlin. Climate researchers Ronja Reese and Constanze Werner talked about their work and answered everything the girls wanted to know in an open question session.
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Online European Geosciences Union 2021 with strong PIK participation

04/21/2021 - One of the largest scientific meetings worldwide, the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly, virtually brings together geoscientists from all over the planet – amongst them many scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). From 19 to 30 April 2021, the EGU covers all disciplines of the Earth, planetary and space sciences and provides a forum where scientists, especially early-career researchers, can present their work and discuss their ideas with experts in all fields of geoscience.
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Wood instead of steel and concrete: Schellnhuber calls for a green Bauhaus movement

04/21/2021- Reconstructing our climate: On the occasion of the upcoming "Earth Day", Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director Emeritus of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, called for a green Bauhaus movement for the 21st century. He presented the "Building House of the Earth" initiative, which he co-founded, together with the architect Annette Hillebrandt and the President of the German Federal Environment Agency Dirk Messner at Berlin's Federal Press Conference today. Schellnhuber argues for the substitution of reinforced concrete with organic building materials and presented strategies for sustainable housing.
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Press Release

Solar panels are contagious - but in a good way: study

04/21/2021 - The number of solar panels within shortest distance from a house is the most important factor in determining the likelihood of that house having a solar panel, when compared with a host of socio-economic and demographic variables. This is shown in a new study by scientists using satellite and census data of the city of Fresno in the US, and employing machine learning. Although it is known that peer effects are relevant for sustainable energy choices, very high-resolution data combined with artificial intelligence techniques were necessary to single out the paramount importance of proximity. The finding is relevant for policies that aim at a broad deployment of solar panels in order to replace unsustainable fossil fueled energy generation.
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Less than one week to go: Nobel Prize Summit “Our Planet, Our Future” with Al Gore and the Dalai Lama

04/20/2021 - On the heels of President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate, the first Nobel Prize Summit “Our Planet, Our Future”, taking place April 26-28, will bring together Nobel Prize laureates and other esteemed leaders like Al Gore, Ursula von der Leyen, the Dalai Lama and many more to explore actions that can be achieved this decade to put the world on a path to a more sustainable, more prosperous future for all.
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Climate change is making Indian monsoon seasons more chaotic

04/14/2021 - If global warming continues unchecked, summer monsoon rainfall in India will become stronger and more erratic. This is the central finding of an analysis by a team of German researchers that compared more than 30 state-of-the-art climate models from all around the world. The study predicts more extremely wet years in the future – with potentially grave consequences for more than one billion people’s well-being, economy, food systems and agriculture.
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Climate change is making it harder to get a good cup of coffee

14/04/2021 - Ethiopia may produce less specialty coffee and more rather bland tasting varieties in the future. This is the result of a new study by an international team of researchers that looked at the peculiar effects climate change has on Africa's largest coffee producing nation. Their results are relevant both for the country's millions of smallholder farmers, who earn more on specialty coffee than on ordinary coffee, as well as for baristas and coffee aficionados around the world.
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"Safe and just corridor for people and planet": Earth Commission paper

03/14/2021 - Not transgressing the limits of the planet’s systems, being in line with the sustainable development goals: A new paper from a global team of scientists of the Earth Commission laid out its approach to defining a “safe and just corridor for people and planet” in a paper published in Earth’s Future. The “safe and just corridor” framework will assist the Earth Commission in quantifying what conditions for the planet’s systems avoid dangerous tipping points and ensure just sharing of risk, responsibilities and resources for all.
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Webinar: Tipping points for sustainability transitions

03/26/2021 - From the Brazilian rain forest to the Australian bushes and to the Antarctic glaciers, ecosystems are being destabilised by climate change and are at risk of reaching irreversible tipping points. Which way will things tip? How to manage tipping points as opportunities? Join our Climate Crisis webinar on March 30, leading to the Nobel Prize Summit 2021! With discussions by PIK Director Emeritus Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Tim Lenton (University of Exeter), Cameron Hepburn (University of Oxford), Marta Deldgado Peralta (Mexican Foreign Ministry); moderated by Oliver Morton (The Economist).
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