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New approach in El Niño forecasting potentially doubles the lead-time and helps forecasting its magnitude

06.01.2020 - El Niño, probably the most far-ranging climate phenomena on Earth, is likely to hit again in 2020, as groundbreaking research by PIK and others has shown. Now, PIK researchers also found a new way to improve forecasts regarding its magnitude using data from air and sea surface temperature series.
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PIK research among the top 20 most-discussed papers worldwide in 2019, according to Altmetric

17/12/2019 - The EAT Lancet report by PIK director Johan Rockström and others was published in January 2019 in the medical journal The Lancet. Lighting up paths to feeding a world population of 10 billion people while respecting our planet’s boundaries and our health has earned the paper an enormous amount of online attention and debate, ranking on place 18 of the 100 biggest science stories of 2019.
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Artificial Intelligence: applying ‚Deep Reinforcement Learning‘ for sustainable development

20/12/2019 - For the first time, a specific way of machine learning has been used to find novel pathways for sustainable development. So far, the so-called 'Deep Reinforcement Learning' has mostly been used to make computers excel in certain games, such as AlphaGo, or navigate robots through rough terrain. Now, scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research developed a mathematical framework combining recently developed machine learning techniques with more classical analysis of trajectories in computer simulations of the global climate system and the global economy. The results, published in the interdisciplinary journal on nonlinear phenomena 'Chaos', are promising.
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Planetary boundaries: Interactions in the Earth system amplify human impacts

16/12/2019 - What we do to one part of our Earth system does not just add to what we do to other parts – transgressing one planetary boundary can amplify human impacts on another one. For the first time, an international team of scientists now quantified some of the planetary-scale interactions in the Earth system. These biophysical interactions have in fact almost doubled direct human impacts on the nine planetary boundaries, from climate change to freshwater use. This insight can now be applied in policy design for safeguarding the livelihoods of generations to come.
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Germany likely to ramp up CO2 price path

16/12/2019 - Germany is likely to introduce a more ambitious carbon price path than previously envisioned by the Federal government. The mediation committee of the two legislative bodies agreed on a starting price of 25 Euro per ton CO2 in 2021, gradually rising to 55 Euros in 2025. Previously, the German government's plan was to start with 10 Euro, rising to 35 Euro. The national pricing scheme is supposed to complement the European Union's Emissions Trading System. The Green Deal plans just announced by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, might also comprise more substantial carbon pricing. On this issue Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC):
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COP25 climate summit: "weak outcome"

15.12.2019 - This weekend, the world climate summit COP25 in Madrid ran overtime to come to much debated decisions. Together, the two Directors of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research issued a statement to comment on the outcome. "This is a minimum compromise," says Earth system scientist Johan Rockström. Climate economist Ottmar Edenhofer adds: "The weak outcome of COP25 is sad but no surprise. It highlights that the next world climate summit in Glasgow really needs to be the turning point it is scheduled to be in the 2015 Paris Agreement timetable."
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COP25: Johan Rockström speaks at High Level Event on Climate Emergency

11.12.2019 - Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, addressed the plenary of delegates of COP 25 in Madrid during a High Level Event on Climate Emergency. In his opening remarks he gave an "update from science", stressing that "the red thread in science over the past 20 years, is that we have underestimated the pace of change and the risks we are facing."
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Edenhofer: "The European Green Deal is a bold plan"

12/12/2019 - The President of the EU Commision, Ursula von der Leyen, today presented the European Green Deal in Brussels. On Thursday, the European Council will debate it. Furthermore, it will be presented at the world climate summit COP25 in Madrid. On this issue, Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) said in a statement: "The European Green Deal is a bold plan that must now be followed by concrete action."
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Athens: Schellnhuber appointed member of Plato‘s Academy

10/12/2019 – The very word academia derives from a borough in ancient Athens, where Plato gathered his students already in 400 BCE. The heir to Plato’s Academy more than 2,000 years later is Greece’s highest scientific institution, the renowned Academy of Athens. PIK Director Emeritus Hans Joachim Schellnhuber has now been appointed to the honourable circle for his outstanding achievements in climate science.
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Global food production at risk of simultaneous heat waves across breadbasket regions

09/12/2019 - Certain patterns in the jet stream encircling the Earth can bring simultaneous heatwaves to breadbasket regions responsible for up to a quarter of global food production. Particularly susceptible are Western North America, Western Europe, Western Russia and Ukraine. Extreme weather events of such extent can significantly harm food production and thus make prices soar. In recent years, major food price spikes were associated with social unrest.
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Leibniz PhD Award for Catrin Ciemer

02.12.2019 - Physicist Catrin Ciemer has been awarded the Leibniz Doctoral Prize for her outstanding doctoral thesis. The prize is awarded annually for the best doctoral theses from Leibniz Institutes in the categories humanities and social sciences as well as natural and technical sciences. The award-winning theses must be distinguished not only by an outstanding evaluation but also by their interdisciplinary significance, application relevance and publication in scientific journals or presentations at scientific conferences. This year's prizewinners were selected from almost 900 doctoral theses completed at Leibniz Institutes in 2018.
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Postdoc Award of the State of Brandenburg for Niklas Boers

02.12.2019 - Niklas Boers of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) has been awarded the Postdoc Prize of the State of Brandenburg. The prize is awarded by the state of Brandenburg in recognition of excellent research achievements by outstanding young scientists from universities and non-university research institutions.
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COP25: PIK experts in Madrid

02.12.2019 - "Time for Action": About 25,000 delegates from all over the world are expected to attend the UN Climate Conference COP25 from December 2-13 in Madrid, Spain. "We stand at a critical juncture in our collective efforts to limit dangerous global heating", UN General Secretary António Guterres said at the Opening Ceremony of COP25 in the Spanish Capital. "Millions throughout the world – especially young people – are calling on leaders from all sectors to do more, much more, to address the climate emergency we face. They know we need to get on the right path today, not tomorrow. That means important decisions must be made now," he stressed in his remarks.
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Potsdam: Kira Vinke is awarded best PhD Thesis Prize for Work on Climate Migration

29/11/2019 – Kira Vinke from PIK is the first political scientist to receive the Potsdam Young Scientist Award. The prize was awarded to her for her dissertation on "Unsettling Settlements: Cities, Migrants, Climate Change. Rural-Urban Climate Migration as Effective Adaption?" The honor was awarded to her by Lord Mayor Mike Schubert at a ceremony at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
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Award for innovative university teaching

29.11.2019 - Together with the Potsdam University and the Hasso-Plattner-Institute (HPI), the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) has been awarded for their jointly developed university programme. The course "Sustainable and collaborative decision-making in economics and politics - An interdisciplinary and simulation-based course" will be supported with 30,000 euros over the next two years by the Baden-Württemberg foundation and the Stifterverband. The "fellowships for innovation and higher education teaching" award ideas for future-orientated composition and optimisation of university teaching.
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Ten PIK researchers among the most influential scientists worldwide: ranking

29.11.2019 - According to a new Clarivate ranking, ten scientists from all research areas of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) are among the most cited researchers worldwide. This places them among the most influential scientists in the world, and their studies rank among the top 1% of scientific literature. Whether natural or social sciences, PIK is among the most renowned research institutions in Germany and worldwide, as the recently published ranking shows.
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Climate tipping points – too risky to bet against

28/11/2019 - From the Greenland and West-Antarctic ice sheets to coral reefs or the Amazon rainforest – a number of critical elements in the Earth system could be more likely to tip than was previously thought, a group of leading scientists warns in in the highly renowned journal Nature. Evidence is mounting that these events are also more interconnected, which could eventually lead to domino effects. A possible tipping cascade of irreversible changes might put the livelihoods of people around the world at risk and marks a state of planetary emergency, the authors argue in their comment.
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Schlacke and Edenhofer chair steering committee of “Climate Protection Science Platform” of the Federal Government

22.11.2019 - The Federal Government assigns scientific advisors for the Climate Action Plan 2050. A steering committee consisting of representatives of outstanding research institutions control the “Climate Protection Science Platform". These representatives elected Sabine Schlacke, a lawyer from the University of Münster, and economist Ottmar Edenhofer of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change as its chairs. As the voice of science, the platform will advise the government on the implementation and further development of the German climate strategy and contribute to the achievement of climate goals. The important aspect here is that it is independent and can act on its own initiative.
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Decarbonizing the power sector: renewable energy offers most benefits for health and environment

19/11/2019 - Electricity supply is one of the biggest CO2 emitters globally. To keep global warming well below 2°C, several paths lead to zero emissions in the energy sector, and each has its potential environmental impacts - such as air and water pollution, land-use or water demand. Using a first-time combination of multiple modelling systems, an international team of researchers led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) has now quantified the actual benefits and downsides of three main roads to decarbonisation. They show that relying mainly on wind and solar would bring most co-benefits for the health of people and planet. Switching to carbon capture and storage in combination with fossil and biomass resources, in turn, is likely to convey significant environmental costs by devouring large areas at the cost of biodiversity, and by releasing pollutants to the environment.
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Lancet Countdown: Forschungsbericht zu Klimawandel und Gesundheit

14.11.2019 - Bis zum Ende dieses Jahrhunderts sind jährlich bis zu fünf zusätzliche Hitzewellen in Norddeutschland und bis zu 30 in Süddeutschland zu erwarten, wenn wir mit dem Ausstoß von Treibhausgasen so weitermachen wie bisher. Damit einhergehender Hitzestress und hohe bodennahe Ozonkonzentrationen können schwerwiegende Folgen für die menschliche Gesundheit haben. Dazu zählen unter anderem Hitzschlag, Herzinfarkt und akutes Nierenversagen aufgrund von Flüssigkeitsmangel. Am stärksten gefährdet sind ältere Menschen, Säuglinge, Patienten mit chronischen Erkrankungen sowie Personen, die schwere körperliche Arbeit im Freien verrichten, etwa Bauarbeiter.
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PIK awarded for Equality and Diversity

07/11/2019 - Once again, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) has been awarded the "Total E-Quality" prize. For a period of three years, the award is presented to organisations from business, science and administration for their exemplary personnel policy based on equal opportunities. PIK receives the award for the fourth time in a row. For the first time, PIK was also awarded the additional "Diversity" award.
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Just 15 years of post-Paris emissions to lock in 20 cm of sea level rise in 2300: study

5.11.2019 - Unless governments significantly scale up their emission reduction efforts, the 15 years’ worth of emissions released under their current Paris Agreement pledges alone would cause 20 cm of sea-level rise over the longer term, according to new research published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
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Early warning: Physicists from Giessen, Potsdam and Tel Aviv forecast "El Niño" for 2020

04/11/2019 -The serious weather phenomenon "El Niño" could soon occur again in the Pacific region. Researchers at Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU), the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel, find that there will probably be another "El Niño" by the end of 2020. The prediction models commonly used do not yet see any signs of this.
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From Berlin to New York: United in Science

23/09/2019 - Millions of people all around the globe crowded the streets last Friday, demanding rapid action from policy makers to counter climate risks. The Fridays for Future movement calls upon humanity to "unite behind the science". That very same day, the German government adopted a climate policy package relying on carbon pricing expertise provided by PIK Director Ottmar Edenhofer and colleagues. Yet, the policy package is too weak to meet the climate targets, the expert says. Currently, heads of state are meeting at the UN climate summit – German Chancellor Angela Merkel is one of them. Again, science provides the facts needed for sound decisions. Among other input, PIK Director Johan Rockström presented an "Exponential Roadmap" to sustainability in New York with colleagues. Climate stabilization is both necessary and possible, the science shows.
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Vatican: Schellnhuber speaks at Amazon Synod

23.10.2019 - From rainforest deforestation to the exploitation of raw materials, poverty, land conflicts and displacement - under the title "Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology" the Special Synod for Amazonia is currently meeting at the Vatican. About 185 cardinals, bishops and distinguished guests discuss and advise on the most urgent questions for the Amazon region. By special invitation of the Vatican, PIK Director Emeritus Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, was a speaker at the Synod this Monday.
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PIK and MCC deliver detailed assessment of German climate package

14/10/2019 - The climate protection programme adopted by the Federal Government last week, which is intended to limit greenhouse gas emissions especially in the transport and heating sectors, is unlikely to be sufficient to achieve the 2030 climate targets. Policymakers need to make four particular adjustments: first, they need to raise the level of ambition for the carbon price; second, they need to improve social balance; third, they need to develop further its integration with the EU level; and fourth, they need to introduce an effective monitoring process. This is the core message of a detailed assessment of the climate package, presented by the Berlin climate research institute MCC (Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
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"Uncomfortable truths need freedom" - Researcher Winkelmann at Alliance of Science Organisations with Federal President Steinmeier

27/09/2019 - Science should interfere, said Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the closing event of the campaign "Freedom is our System". The campaign was led by the Alliance of Science Organisations under the leadership of the Leibniz Association. The physicist Ricarda Winkelmann from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) also spoke at the event in Berlin's Futurium.
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Leibniz PhD General Assembly gathers at PIK

26/09/2019 - PhD students from all disciplines of the Leibniz Association are gathering this week in Potsdam to discuss their research, exchange ideas and network. Hosted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the two day Leibniz PhD Network General Assembly brings together doctoral researchers for an elaborate programme including talks, discussions and the election of spokespersons. The students were welcomed by Ingo Bräuer, head of PIK's science coordination and transfer, at PIK on Telegrafenberg Science Campus.
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Edenhofer Among 10 Most Influential Economists in Germany

25/09/2019 - Among Germany's most important economic researchers, PIK Director Ottmar Edenhofer is one of the top 10 in the ranking of the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), thus once again performing excellently. Compared to last year, Edenhofer, who is also Director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) and Professor of Climate Economics at the TU Berlin, has risen five places and improved his position to 7th place.
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Johan Rockström Chairs Newly Launched Earth Commission

19/09/2019 - The initiative of 20 globally renowned scientists on Earth Systems sets out to identify the concrete risks climate change brings for cities and firms. They aim to delineate the exact scientific borders of what our Planet can bear in terms of human-made climatic changes. Specifically, the commission will elaborate concrete tangible targets for cities and firms, thus scientifically underpinning tailored Goals for Land, Water, Oceans, and Biodiversity.
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