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Beyond Warsaw: Looking forward to COP20

11/24/2013 - As the world climate conference in Warsaw closes, scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research are focusing on the next summits, and they are also investigating complementary approaches for tackling the climate challenge. “We still can achieve an agreement to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, but 2014 really has to bring some substantial progress,” PIK director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber says, referring to the meeting of world leaders in September 2014 to be convened by UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, as well as COP20 in Lima, Peru. “Warsaw did not yet deliver such progress, not surprisingly.”
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Expert assessment: Sea-level rise could exceed one meter in this century

11/22/2013 - Sea-level rise in this century is likely to be 70-120 centimeters by 2100 if greenhouse-gas emissions are not mitigated, a broad assessment of the most active scientific publishers on that topic has revealed. The 90 experts participating in the survey anticipate a median sea-level rise of 200-300 centimeters by the year 2300 for a scenario with unmitigated emissions. In contrast, for a scenario with strong emissions reductions, experts expect a sea-level rise of 40-60 centimeters by 2100 and 60-100 centimeters by 2300. The survey was conducted by a team of scientists from the USA and Germany.
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PIK wins Potsdam Congress Award

11/15/2013 - In two categories at once, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has won the Potsdam Congress Award 2013. PIK´s international climate impacts conference “Impacts World 2013” as well as the „Global Sustainability Summer School“ that PIK has organized together with the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) twice already were honoured by Potsdam´s mayor Jann Jacobs at the Potsdam convention center.
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Jay Griffiths at PIK

11/15/2013 - The British writer Jay Griffiths is the current “Artist in Residence” at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and will read from her new book “Kith” tonight. Since summer 2011, PIK uses the building of a former photo refractor at Potsdam´s Telegrafenberg as a studio for artists and a meeting place for scientists and artists. Jay Griffiths has been at PIK since October.
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Success of climate talks vital for 2°C target

11/15/2013 - Achieving a global climate agreement soon could be crucial for the objective to keep global mean temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius. The challenges of meeting the long-term target will otherwise increase drastically both in terms of the required emissions reductions and economic impacts. This is shown by the first comprehensive multi-model-based assessment of so-called Durban Platform scenarios, conducted by a team of international scientists led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) in Italy. The Durban Platform is the current negotiation track at the Warsaw climate talks that aims to reach a global climate agreement by 2015 to come into effect in 2020.
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Climate negotiations overshadowed by typhoon

11/14/2013 - This year´s international climate conference that started this Monday in Warsaw is overshadowed by typhoon Haiyan that caused severe damages in the Philippines and is reported to have cost the lives of many thousands of people. Scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research were consulted by a number of media in Germany and abroad.
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Emissions pricing revenues could overcompensate profit losses of fossil fuel owners

11/05/2013 - Revenues from global carbon emission pricing could exceed the losses fossil fuel owners suffer from this policy. Stabilizing global warming at around 2 degrees Celsius by cutting greenhouse-gas emissions from fossil fuels would mean to leave much of coal, gas and oil unused underground. Yet the instrument of pricing global CO2 emissions could generate a revenue of 32 trillion US dollars over the 21st century, exceeding by far the 12 trillion US dollars reduction of fossil fuel owners’ profits, according to a study now published by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The analysis of the interference of CO2 emission pricing with fossil fuel markets adds key information to the debate on macro-economic effects of climate change mitigation.
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Of grandchildren and foxes: Thomas Quasthoff in discussion with Hans Joachim Schellnhuber

11/04/2013 - An evening of the special kind took place last Friday in the Allianz Stiftungsforum in Berlin. The renowned bass baritone Thomas Quasthoff met the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. With the theme “Culture meets Environment” topics like sustainability, generational equity and partially quite personal things were discussed and musically accompanied by soloists of the Staatskapelle Berlin, the trio Apollon.
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Award for equal opportunities in personnel policy

11/04/2013 - The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) again received the title “Total-E-Quality”. The title was awarded on Thursday in Ehningen close to Stuttgart to companies, associations and scientific institutions as well as administrations that have anchored equal opportunities firmly to their personnel management. This year, 59 organizations from all over Germany received the award.
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Pathways to a new international climate regime: Scientists present options at COP 19 in Warsaw

10/31/2013 - How can the next global climate agreement combine bottom-up initiatives from the national or subnational levels with multilateral top-down coordination? And how can such “hybrid” approaches deliver ambitious mitigation? These questions are addressed in a joint Issue Brief now published by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) – founded by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Stiftung Mercator last year – and the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements. The findings will be discussed on November 20 at a side-event at the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties, COP-19, in Warsaw, often referred to as the world climate summit.
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Cities show characteristic heat island effects

10/23/2013 - Cities heat up stronger than the rural regions surrounding them – and if climate change continues, this will become a risk for the inhabitants. On the basis of satellite data, researchers have now more comprehensively than ever before investigated this so-called heat island effect for thousands of cities in Europe. This effect can be noticed in everyday life: If you ride your bicycle from the green surroundings into a city on a hot day, you will often notice a temperature change. The larger a city is, the stronger is the effect, previous studies assumed. Now scientists could for the first time show that the urban heat island effect is in fact increasing with the size of the city – yet only up to a certain threshold value. The analysis revealed that even large cities are getting hotter than their surrounding by only two to three degrees on the average.
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International climate research college opens in Melbourne

10/23/2013 - Global research opportunities will be available to the next generation of climate change and energy experts to tackle major environmental issues, with the launch of a new graduate research college in Melbourne today. The Australian-German College of Climate & Energy Transitions will offer PhD candidates the opportunity to pursue research in areas relating to climate and energy, while also undertaking a six-month exchange program at a partner institution. The College is a collaboration between the University of Melbourne and German partners the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the University of Potsdam, the Humboldt University of Berlin and the Technical University of Berlin.
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Advisory panel of world-leading economists: Ottmar Edenhofer appointed member

10/21/2013 - The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate called on Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) and Deputy Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), to join its advisory panel. The commission – also named ‘Calderon Commission’ after its head, the former Mexican president – aims at elucidating the financial effects of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. As a member of the Economic Advisory Panel of The New Climate Economy, Edenhofer will be siding world-leading economists including Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman of Princeton University and Nick Stern of the London School of Economics.
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“Closely related fates”: German and African scientists discuss climate change

10/16/2013 - Sharing information and ideas about adaptation to climate change in Africa and identifying science-based recommendations on strategies for policymakers was the aim of a workshop held in Cameroon last week. It was organized by the Network of African Science Academies together with the German National Academy Leopoldina and assembled representatives from 14 countries. The keynote on the climate challenge was provided by PIK’s director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber.
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World Summit of Agriculture Experts

10/16/2013 - The “World Food Prize” is considered as something like the Nobel Prize of Agricultural Science. It will be awarded within the framework of the Borlaug Dialogue Symposium starting today, where numerous internationally renowned experts from science, politics and economy will meet. Among the speakers is also Hermann Lotze-Campen from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
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Headlines and more on the IPCC’s new report

10/15/2013 - „Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia“ – this is the first of 18 headline statements provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC with the recently published first part of its new Assessment Report (AR5). The media covered the reports’s release widely, asking lead authors and eminent experts at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) for their comments.
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Delaying climate policy would triple short-term mitigation costs

12/09/2013 - Further delay in the implementation of comprehensive international climate policies could substantially increase the short-term costs of climate change mitigation. Global economic growth would be cut back by up to 7 percent within the first decade after climate policy implementation if the current international stalemate is continued until 2030 -- compared to 2 percent if a climate agreement is reached by 2015 already, a study by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) shows. Higher costs would in turn increase the threshold for decision-makers to start the transition to a low-carbon economy. Thus, to keep climate targets within reach it seems to be most relevant to not further postpone mitigation, the researchers conclude.
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More than 500 million people might face increasing water scarcity

10/08/2013 - Both freshwater availability for many millions of people and the stability of ecosystems such as the Siberian tundra or Indian grasslands are put at risk by climate change. Even if global warming is limited to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, 500 million people could be subject to increased water scarcity – while this number would grow by a further 50 percent if greenhouse-gas emissions are not cut soon. At 5 degrees global warming almost all ice-free land might be affected by ecosystem change. This is shown by complementary studies now published by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
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Water management in China: High-ranking delegation discusses with scientists

09/16/2013 - A high-ranking group of Chinese experts visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) for discussions about water management under the conditions of climate change. The Haihe River Commission's delegation was led by its General Director Ren Xianshao, who is directly linked to the Ministry of Water Resources of the People’s Republic. Both sides discussed how a new cooperation project on the river basin of Luan can be realised. This river basin supplies Tianjin with water – the third largest city of China.
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“The body of evidence is overwhelming”: Prominent climate scientists issue stark statement

09/17/2013 - Two weeks prior to the launch of the first section of the latest IPCC’s report on climate change, twelve members of the newly established Earth League – a global initiative of prominent climate scientists – have jointly published a stark statement. “The body of evidence indicating that our civilisation has already caused significant global warming is overwhelming,” they argue.
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„Nature“ features portrait of Ottmar Edenhofer

09/19/2013 - The renowned scientific journal this week features an unusual article – a portrait of Ottmar Edenhofer. He’s not just vice-president and chief-economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research but also co-chair of the IPCC’s working group on mitigation of climate change. It is this position that the article highlights. Next week, the first part of the IPCC’s new assessement report will be published in Stockholm – it is about the physical science basis, summarizing the state of science after half a decade of intense research. The working group 3 is scheduled to present its results April next year, in Berlin.
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Climate game successfully crowdfunded

09/18/2013 - The crowdfunding campaign for a new edition of the climate board game KEEP COOL has been closed successfully. 353 supporters paid altogether more than 13,000 Euros into the platform Startnext. Thanks to its fans, the game will be available again for schools and universities, organisations and private players in November 2013.
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Science meets music – the Staatskapelle Berlin at Telegrafenberg

09/13/2013 - Soloists from the Staatskapelle Berlin will come to Telegrafenberg Potsdam for a charity concert of a very special kind tonight to support an environmental protection project. The "orchestra of change” wants to break open old habits and that not only musically – the concert will take place in the dark of the unique atmosphere of the cupola of the “Great Refractor”. Host will be Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) who will accompany the evening with scientific insights. Under a huge astronomical telescope, the past will meet the present, the guests will hear works of Johann Sebastian Bach and modern composers like Eugène Ysaÿe, Daniel Schnyder and László Dubrovay.
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Income more important for carbon footprint than metropolitan living

09/11/2013 - Socio-economic drivers like income, education, car ownership or household size seem to be much more important for the carbon footprint of local areas than geographic and infrastructural drivers, a study by Jan Minx from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and his colleagues shows. Using data from the United Kingdom, the scientists compared consumption-based carbon footprints of 434 municipalities across the country with territorial CO2 emission estimates and found that – whether rural or urban – the way of living makes the real difference.
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"Energiewende": Cost Driver or Climate Rescuer?

08/30/2013 - One of the greatest challenges for the new federal government to be in office as of autumn is - independent of its political composition – the energy turnaround. In the target triangle of food security, efficiency and sustainability, tension is increasing. At the background meeting of the German Climate Consortium last week, the central question therefore was “Energiewende: Cost driver or climate rescuer? The answer: “So far neither nor” said Brigitte Knopf from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Together with Erik Gawel from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), she answered questions from journalists.
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Extreme events forcing global warming? Climate extremes and the carbon cycle

08/15/2013 – Extreme events like heat waves, droughts, heavy rain might not only occur more frequently due to climate change. They could also force global warming if terrestrial ecosystems release CO2 as a result of those extremes. An international team of researchers now analyzed the impacts of extremes on forests, bogs, grass landscapes and arable areas througout the world, among them scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Terrestrial ecosystems absorb about 11 billion tons less carbon dioxide every year as the result of the extreme climate events than they could if the events did not occur, the researchers write in the renowned journal Nature. This is equivalent to approximately a third of global CO2 emissions per year.
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Multifold increase in heat extremes by 2040

08/15/2013 - Extremes such as the severe heat wave last year in the US or the one 2010 in Russia are likely to be seen much more often in the near future. A few decades ago, they were practically absent. Today, due to man-made climate change monthly heat extremes in summer are already observed on 5 percent of the land area. This is projected to double by 2020 and quadruple by 2040, according to a study by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM). A further increase of heat extremes in the second half of our century could be stopped if global greenhouse-gas emissions would be reduced substantially.
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Identifying climate impact hotspots across sectors

07/02/2013 - One out of ten people on Earth is likely to live in a climate impact hotspot by the end of this century, if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. Many more are put at risk in a worst-case scenario of the combined impacts on crop yields, water availability, ecosystems, and health, according to a study now published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). It identifies the Amazon region, the Mediterranean and East Africa as regions that might experience severe change in multiple sectors. The article is part of the outcome of the Intersectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP) that will be featured in a special issue of PNAS later this year.
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