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Science and Policy: Dialogue in Durban

12/06/2011 - Leading policy-makers and researchers met today in Durban to urge climate negotiators to acknowledge scientific findings and address the sustainability challenge. Amongst the participants of this dialogue were Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa and Co-Chair of the UN Secretary General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability, and the European Union’s Climate Comissioner Conny Hedegaard, as well as Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and Nicholas Stern from the London School of Economics. The event was hosted by Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and Johan Rockström, Director of the Stockholm Environment Institute.
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Global warming “not slowing down”

12/06/2011 - A new analysis of the five leading global temperature data sets provides further evidence for climate change. Despite some differences between the measurement curves they indicate an almost identical, steady global warming trend over the past 30 years. The researchers factored out three of the main factors that account for short-term fluctuations in global temperature: el Niño, volcanic eruptions and variations in the sun’s brightness. “Differences between the five data sets reside, to a large extent, in their short-term variability,” says Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, one of the study’s authors. ”After the variability is removed, all five of them are very similar.”
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Climate dents in humankind´s family tree: new correlations discovered

12/05/2011 - Climate changes in Earth’s history have influenced the fate of modern man´s ancestors, but until now it has not been clear why some evolutionary variations developed or disappeared. Scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Potsdam University have now provided a novel view on human evolution during the past five million years. A nonlinear statistical analysis of sediments taken from the seafloor near Africa indicates that abrupt changes in climate variability could have had a significant impact on human evolution. In the first instance, the scientists have spotted three primeval tipping points.
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Stiftung Mercator and PIK initiate new institute with EUR 17m budget

11/28/2011 - Today Stiftung Mercator and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) announced the foundation of a joint institute for research and policy advice in Berlin. The Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) will address interdisciplinary research on questions of sustainable growth in a finite world. The MCC will be run by Prof. Dr. Ottmar Edenhofer, who will also remain as Deputy Director at PIK. Stiftung Mercator is providing financing of around EUR 17m over eight years. This is the largest individual funding contribution ever provided by a private foundation in the field of climate research in Germany. Up to 40 jobs will be created over the course of the coming year. The institute is likely to be located at the Euref site in Schöneberg, Berlin.
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Scheduling for Durban - and beyond

11/24/2011 – At the moment, hardly anyone expects a breakthrough of the climate summit in Durban. Even before the negotiators from around the world come together in South Africa at the end of November, some observers already turn away bored. Especially for this reason, scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) direct attention to questions that go beyond the summit with a whole series of media briefings these days. What happens if nothing happens in Durban? That is the natural scientific view on climate change. And what works if nothing works in Durban? That is the view on economy and politics. New scientific findings show ever clearer what the risks of resigning to human-made global warming could be – and what chances climate protection still offers.
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Eliminating subsidies harmful to the climate: “We have a vast number of possibilities"

11/14/2011 - With tens of billions some states subsidize fossil fuels like oil. This was dubbed “an absurdity of our economic system” by Achim Steiner, Head of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) during his Climate Lecture at Technische Universität Berlin (TUB). To stop these subsidies of more than 500 billions US$ a year could be a great chance for global climate protection; just one of many. “We have a vast number of possibilities – if we succeed to mobilize decision-makers in economy and politics,” Steiner told more than a thousand listeners. The world should listen more closely to science. It consolidates its findings more and more. Despite remaining questions and uncertainties, climate protection is simply “reasonable risk management”.
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European Parliament: towards a low carbon economy

11/11/2011 - To support its discussions about pathways towards a competitive low carbon economy, the European Parliament (EP) recently organised a workshop in Brussels. Daniel Klingenfeld from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research contributed the scientific view. Other experts were from the International Energy Agency, Business Europe, and the European Commission. The members of the EP's Committee on the Environment announced they will use the results of the workshop to propose concrete measures that the Commission should introduce within three years if the 2050 target is to be realised.
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Where does tomorrow’s energy come from? Researchers explore new pathways

11/09/2011 - In just a few weeks´ time the European Union will present its scenarios for tomorrow’s energy, the “Energy Roadmap 2050” – and already there is some excitement about the question of price increases. Behind such estimates, however, there are scientific models: computer simulations of real world processes. They are the tools to assess costs and benefits of a transformation of our energy system in line with climate change mitigation. This week, the most relevant developers of such models assembled under the umbrella of the Stanford Energy Modeling Forum (EMF), met for the first time at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The new analyses they are preparing are about data and formula – but in the end also about euros and cents for industry and households.
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Schellnhuber receives renowned Volvo Environment Prize

11/04/2011 - The Volvo Environment Prize was awarded to the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, in Stockholm yesterday. The internationally recognized prize for “outstanding innovations or scientific discoveries” is in its 20th year and is endowed with 160.000€. Schellnhuber is the first German to receive the prize.
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Strengthening links between Indian and German researchers

10/28/2011 - Indische Wissenschaftler wollen ihre Verbindungen zum Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung (PIK) ausbauen. Das Institut für sozialen und wirtschaftlichen Wandel in Bangalore hat Jürgen Kropp eingeladen, bei einer hochrangig besetzten Konferenz vergangene Woche die Hauptrede zu halten sowie die Eröffnung und die Schlussbemerkungen zu machen. Kropp ist Leiter des Nord-Süd-Projekts im PIK-Forschungsbereich Klimawirkung und Vulnerabilität. Unter den mehr als 200 Teilnehmern war der Premierminister und der Präsident des Bundesstaates Karnataka. Das Treffen stand unter dem Motto „Kooperation zwischen Deutschland und Indien stärken“ und wurde von der Humboldt Stiftung unterstützt.
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