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Significant sea-level rise in a 2-degree warming world

06/24/2012 - Sea levels around the world can be expected to rise by several metres in coming centuries, if global warming carries on. Even if global warming is limited to 2 degrees Celsius, global-mean sea level could continue to rise, reaching between 1.5 and 4 metres above present-day levels by the year 2300, with the best estimate being at 2.7 metres, according to a study just published in Nature Climate Change. However, emissions reductions that allow warming to drop below 1.5 degrees Celsius could limit the rise strongly.
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Rio+20: „The smoke screen of holistic thinking“

06/21/2012 - During the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, scientists of the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) were interviewed by several media.
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“A house for the 21th century“: To celebrate its 20th anniversary, PIK is laying the foundation stone for a new research building

06/20/2012 - Climate research in Potsdam will get a new home. Adjacent to the historic main buildings of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) dating from the 19th century, a new energy-optimized building will come into existence. The laying of the foundation stone for this exceptional new research building also marks PIK’s 20th anniversary. Representatives of science and politics congratulated the institute, underlining that it has become one of the world’s leading climate research centres.
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Chinese Academy of Sciences seeks exchange on research management

06/15/2012 - High ranking representatives of the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) this week. 20 Directors or Deputy Directors of different Chinese research facilities participated in the scientific exchange which focused on research management and research strategies. From PIK, Ingo Bräuer reported about the institute’s proceedings. Jürgen Kurths and Frank Wechsung refered about current cooperations with China. One focus was on the project “Sustainable water and agricultural land use in the Guanting watershed under limited water” as an example for research cooperation, a project supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
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Successful video "Earthbook": Earth goes online

06/13/2012 - In the online network “Earthbook“, Earth has millions of friends. Plants and Animals left their status updates on a 4.48 billion year old profile. But when “Human” burns too much coal and oil, Earth doesn't "like“ it anymore. The German version of this short film "Earthbook“ by the Climate Media Factory already had more than 160.000 views in only one week on Youtube. Now, an English version was made available as well. The video was made in context of "Project Earth: Our Future“ by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for "Science Year 2012“.
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Long Night of Science: 10,000 visited Telegraphenberg

06/06/2012 - The “smartest night of the year” once again attracted thousands of scienctifically interested people to the Telegraphenberg campus. At the 12th Long Night of Science, Potsdam recorded the biggest increase in visitor numbers. At Telegraphenberg alone, almost twice as many visitors were counted as in 2011. The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) took part offering a wide range of activities for visitors of all ages – supported by more than 120 PIK volunteers.
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Rio+20: Climate protection and poverty reduction both depend on a new global treaty

06/05/2012 - The Rio+20 summit could help pave the way towards a new global accord that links the crucial issues of climate protection and prosperity. “If the world wants to mitigate dangerous climate change, the discussions in Rio have to go beyond the very broad sustainability issue and the very narrow green growth notion,” says Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), who is going to attend the summit. Scientists of PIK and the Institute for Social and Development Studies (IGP), together with the organization for development cooperation Misereor and the Munich Re Foundation, point out key options for linking climate and development policy in a new book now published. It provides scientific input for the runup to Rio+20 and provides pathways to solve the climate change challenge in a fair way.
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Nobel Laureate speaks to Potsdam postgraduates

05/11/2012 - Nobel Laureate Mario Molina visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) this week. During the annual meeting of the institute's junior scientists (PhD Day), Molina talked about ways of communicating climate science findings. „The scientific community needs to better communicate the risks of climate change to decision makers in government,“ Molina said.
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„Fantasy unlimited“: European Climate-KIC strategy retreat

05/09/2012 - From Imperial College London to Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, from Electricité de France to Bayer Technology Services, more than 50 representatives of both science and business gathered for a two-day strategy meeting hosted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) last week. They are all affiliated or core partners of the European Union’s Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community (Climate-KIC) that focuses on fostering entrepreneurship for sustainable prosperity. The meeting launched the next phase for further developing the network’s innovation platforms.
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The Elbe – a European river in global climate change

05/07/2012 - The flooding of the Elbe river ten years ago or the contrasting dry summer just one year later: extreme events like these display the vulnerability of our society. The recently published “Elbe-Atlas des globalen Wandels” (Elbe-Atlas of Global Change) demonstrates possible shifts that may occur as a result of climate change, presenting the findings of comprehensive analysis of climate change impacts for water management and affected economical sectors. From electricity generation to industry, tourism, shipping or communal water supply – detailed maps illustrate projected changes until 2055.
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High-ranking visitors: Luxembourg´s head of state learns about climate change and possible solutions

04/25/2012 - When the Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research yesterday, director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber and vice director Ottmar Edenhofer presented the latest state of research on climate change as well as possibilities to mitigate. During the Grand Duke´s visit at historic “Telegraphenberg” in Potsdam, he was accompanied by Brandenburg´s prime minister Matthias Platzeck among others.
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New team lineup leading research domains

04/02/2012 - Some new heads can be found at the top of the four research domains of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The new team lineup that has been implemented in March is the result of a larger process to further sharpen the institute’s profile. The goal remains unchanged: excellent research.
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Greenland ice sheet may melt completely with 1.6 degrees global warming

03/11/2012 - The Greenland ice sheet is likely to be more vulnerable to global warming than previously thought. The temperature threshold for melting the ice sheet completely is in the range of 0.8 to 3.2 degrees Celsius global warming, with a best estimate of 1.6 degrees above pre-industrial levels, shows a new study by scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Today, already 0.8 degrees global warming has been observed. Substantial melting of land ice could contribute to long-term sea-level rise of several meters and therefore it potentially affects the lives of many millions of people.
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Weather records due to climate change: a game with loaded dice

03/25/2012 - The past decade has been one of unprecedented weather extremes. Scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany argue that the high incidence of extremes is not merely accidental. From the many single events a pattern emerges. At least for extreme rainfall and heat waves the link with human-caused global warming is clear, the scientists show in a new analysis of scientific evidence in the journal Nature Climate Change. Less clear is the link between warming and storms, despite the observed increase in the intensity of hurricanes.
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Ice loss in the Antarctic: Researchers find calving law

03/21/2012 - The ice of Antartica is in motion. Time and again, massive breaking off of icebergs has been observed – now scientists have for the first time presented a universal physical law for the large-scale disintegration of the ice-shelves. It describes how the speed of the ice plays an important role. The ice-shelves situated in the bays of the Antarctica, where the grounded ice is joined to ice on the ocean, are currently hindering a faster discharge of the ice masses. But the ice-shelves could abruptly change their state, the study by an international team of scientists shows. Big break-offs lead to a much faster discharge of inland ice into the ocean where it melts. Hence, the Antarctica could be contributing comparatively the fastest to global sea-level rise.
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Climate risks of bioenergy underestimated

03/08/2012 - Energy from biomass presents underappreciated risks, new research published in Nature Climate Change shows. “A precautionary approach is needed,” says Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and professor at the Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin). “Before further expanding bioenergy, science has to deliver a more comprehensive risk assessment to policy makers – dealing with the uncertainties inherent to projections of bioenergy use up to now. Novel kinds of risk management for land-use change are needed.” One option would be to shift the burden-of-proof of meeting sustainability standards to the bioenergy producers.
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Half a billion for climate innovation - EU Commissioners visiting Climate-KIC

02/23/2012 - Today two European Commissioners are in Berlin for talks with the European Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community (Climate-KIC). In only three years, Climate-KIC and its partners will invest around half a billion Euros in European climate innovation. Through this effort, science and business are working to turn research into products and services faster than ever before. Together, they want to turn the corner on climate change and pave the way to an industrial revolution towards sustainability. Climate-KIC funding addresses, for instance, start-ups in the sector of electric mobility. After its founding in 2010, the partner network’s activities are gaining momentum.
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Global Sustainability Summer School in Potsdam open for applications

02/14/2012 - Some outstanding international researchers will teach at the Global Sustainability Summer School in Potsdam this year. One major focus will be on risks. Ken Caldeira from Stanford University will provide a paleoclimatic perspective on extreme events, Doyne Farmer from the Santa Fe Institute will cover the theory of complex systems, Elke Weber from Columbia University will talk about uncertainty and human psychology. The summer school is jointly organized by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), in Partnership with the Santa Fe Institute, and sponsored by Robert Bosch Stiftung. Application deadline is March 1st.
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Berlinale: „Greening the film industry“

02/07/2012 - The Berlinale international film festival, starting this week, will host a debate on – as the program puts it – “Greening the film industry”. Protagonists of the creative industries “could become pioneers of change if they produce in a climate-friendly way and communicate this,” says Fritz Reusswig from the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research. The debate is part of an initiative of the Climate Media Factory, a joint research project of the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research and the Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen “Konrad Wolf”, supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
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Quantifying climate impacts: new comprehensive model comparison launched

02/07/2012 - Climate change has impacts on forests, fields, rivers – and thereby on humans that breathe, eat and drink. To assess these impacts more accurately, a comprehensive comparison of computer-based simulations from all over the world will start this week. For the first time, sectors ranging from ecosystems to agriculture to water supplies and health will be scrutinized in a common framework. The models will be provided by more than two dozen research groups from the United States, China, Germany, Austria, Kenya, and the Netherlands, among others. The scientists will investigate which results are robust, where there are uncertainties and why. The project will be coordinated by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).
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Growing world trade makes food production cheaper – at the expense of the environment

11/22/2011 - Further opening of the markets for agricultural products leads to lower production costs for food. This will happen at the expense of the environment though, if for example forests are turned into cropland. The conflict of interests between food production and climate protection is now shown by scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in calculations for the years 2005 to 2045. For the first time, the effects of an advancing liberalization of agricultural trade were comprehensively analyzed through computer simulations, focusing both on the economic impacts and on those on land use and nature. This is one of the important issues to be discussed at the UN summit in Durban next week.
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PIK ranked amongst top environmental think tanks

01/20/2012 – The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research again has been ranked amongst the top environmental think tanks worldwide. In the 2011 survey now published, it has been placed on the fourth rank – slightly improving from a fifth rank in the year before and a seventh rank in 2009. The winner in this research area is the Pew Center on Global Change in the US. Approximately 5300 think tanks in different categories participated in this ranking.
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Green Growth: World Bank appoints Edenhofer as an advisor

01/16/2012 - The World Bank appointed Ottmar Edenhofer of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research as a member of the advisory committee of the Green Growth Knowlegde Platform. This platform is a joint effort of the Global Green Growth Institute, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and World Bank, to identify and address major knowledge gaps in green growth theory and practice. In order to help countries design and implement policies to move towards a green economy, it brings together leading researchers and practitioners from all over the globe. The platform just held its inaugural conference in Mexico City.
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New building for 17 million Euro – research project included

01/13/2012 - Climate research in Potsdam gets a new house. Next to the impressing main buildings from the 19th century, a new energetically optimized building for 190 employees and a planned new high-performance computer will be built for the cost of 17 million Euro altogether. The laying of the foundation stone will take place this year. The building is also subject of a research project on energetic optimization, in cooperation with Dresden Technical University.
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“New hot paper”: International news agency

01/03/2012 - The leading international news agency Thomson Reuters ranked a study by scientists of the Potsdam Institue for Climate Impact Research as a top “New Hot Paper” this month. “The Economics of Low Stabilization: Model Comparison of Mitigation Strategies and Costs” by Ottmar Edenhofer, Brigitte Knopf and others has been identified as one of the most-cited papers published during the past two years in the field of economics and business.
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Climate scientist writes for children, and other new books

12/30/2011 – Several intriguing books have been published by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) this year. The probably most unusual one is by Stefan Rahmstorf, co-chair of the Earth System Analysis research domain: He wrote a book on climate and weather for children. Other books cover topics ranging from extreme events to China to religion – to name just a few.
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Proposals for reducing emissions must balance with development needs

12/22/2011 – How to integrate developing countries into global CO2 reduction schemes is subject of an ongoing debate. An approach for balancing climate change mitigation and the need for development is now being presented by the North South Project of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The study shows that emissions of societies up to now are closely linked to their human development levels under parallel consideration of the 2 degrees target. The 2 degrees guardrail by 2050 has been accepted by states around the world in order to prevent dangerous climate change.
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Excellence at PIK

12/22/2011 - The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) is one of the most important scientific institutions in this field of research worldwide; many international scientists are therefore drawn to Potsdam. A manifestation of the excellent work done at PIK is the growing number of professorships held by PIK scientists or to where they move on.
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„Providing information for transformation”

12/19/2011 – This year has been “a good year of good science,” said Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), at the conclusion of the 2011 Research Days. This annual gathering of all PIK scientists is an opportunity to discuss research results and new projects. One of the latter is a big intercomparison project of global warming impact models that will be relevant for the 2014 assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. For socioeconomic scenarios as well, an intercomparison project has been launched. Both are coordinated by PIK.
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Climate knowledge for computer game

12/19/2011 - With two digital projects, staff members from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) supported professional programmers with their expertise. For the computer game “Anno 2070”, scientists of the research project Climate Media Factory, funded by the federal government, discussed scenarios of global warming with game developers and informed them about the latest state of climate science. PIK contributed a problem statement for a programming contest as well. Both projects were about knowledge transfer.
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