News

 

Scientific policy advise for G20

14/12/2016 – Germany has taken the presidency of the G20 in the beginning of December. Leading PIK-scientists support the Federal Government in this process on several levels. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), handed over a Special Report with concrete recommendations for action on a transformation together with the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). Last week at the kick-off of the so-called T20-process, the team of PIK’s chief economist Ottmar Edenhofer took the lead of the task force on climate policy.
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Water Future: PIK chairs new working group on groundwater management

23/12/2016 - Groundwater has contributed greatly to increasing food security by ensuring water availability for irrigation at critical times. Today, 43 percent of global food production depends on groundwater use. However, water reserves are not endless, and climate change puts additional pressure on groundwater management. A new transdisciplinary and international research group on Water Management in the Future Earth Framework will address these challenges, co-chaired by Anne Biewald of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). As part of the Sustainable Water Future Programme, several research groups will bring together the best international expertise to drive solutions to the world’s water problems.
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How fair are the countries' climate pledges?

12/19/2016 - Benchmarks to guide countries in ratcheting-up their ambition to remain well-below 2°C and pursue 1,5°C in an equitable manner are critical but not yet determined in the context of the Paris Agreement. A new study published in Nature Climate Change analyzes the national climate targets needed to meet the 1.5°C and 2°C goals according to five different equity principles, and how these compare with the current climate pledges.
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Consumption, climate change and agriculture

16/12/2016 - The holiday season is in full swing and many enjoy the opportunity to feast – or to make new year resolutions for a healthier diet. What we eat is more than a private decision – the agriculture and land use sector is one of the central players in ambitious climate change mitigation efforts. Yet, mitigation policies in agriculture may conflict with food security. A team of scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research analyzed the impacts on food prices under mitigation policies – targeting either incentives for producers or consumer preferences. They show that policy instruments to mitigate climate change with an educational approach to change food preferences can avoid unwanted impacts of climate change mitigation measures on food security.
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“Never before such a need for science” - to save our planet

12/08/2016 - Pope Francis called upon scientists to protect the world from climate change and its impacts, such as poverty and conflict. The leader of 1.3 billion Catholics addressed the bi-annual assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. During this event Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, was formally introduced as a member of this most distinguished scientific body. He was already appointed by the pope in June 2015, previous to the presentation of the “green” encyclical Laudato Si in the Vatican, where Schellnhuber was speaking on behalf of the entire scientific community. Sustainability issues were at the heart of the recent assembly, which was attended by many Nobel Laureates and other eminent researchers. The Pontifical Academy has only 80 life-time members, who are chosen exclusively on the grounds of excellence and relevance, regardless of their faith or origin.
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Edenhofer speaks at Tanner Lecture at Princeton University

Ottmar Edenhofer, Chief Economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), speaks at the distinguished Tanner Lecture at Princeton University. Free and open to the public, the Tanner Lectures On Human Values are conducted by leaders of their field. The lectures are considered to be among the most renowned lecture series in the United States, presented annually at each of nine renowned universities including Cambridge, Harvard, Michigan, Oxford, Princeton, Stanford, Utah, Yale, and the University of California, Berkeley.
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Potsdam Young Scientist Award for Max Franks

2016/11/28 – Max Franks from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) was honoured with the Potsdam Young Scientist Award. Mayor Jann Jakobs handed the prize to Franks at the Einstein Day of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities in appreciation of his outstanding achievements in the field of economic sciences.
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From Marrakech to Brandenburg: Schellnhuber at the state of Brandenburg’s press conference

11/21/2016 – After the ratification of the Paris Agreement, the climate conference in Marrakech confirmed once more that energy production based on the use of coal has no future, if international climate targets are to be met. This was not only relevant for the United Nations, but also for Europe, Germany or the Federal State of Brandenburg. Business as usual with lignite would not only harm the world climate, but also the economic development of regions like the German Lausitz. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber , Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, recently spoke about these topics at the state of Brandenburg’s press conference. Together with Marc Lawrence of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), he was invited by the journalists to comment on the first year of the Paris Agreement, on German climate policy and the relevance for the Federal State of Brandenburg. Schellnhuber promoted the idea of developing a phase-out plan for coal use which would shape the transformation towards clean energy technologies with the aim of creating sustainable jobs in lignite-minig areas such as the Lausitz and the Rhineland.
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"An alliance is emerging": climate summit COP22 concludes

11/18/2016 - The UN climate summit COP22 in Morocco sent a signal of renewed confidence in the Paris climate agreement - despite the widespread concern that the USA under President Donald Trump might drop out of international climate policy. Leading scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact research most actively participated in the international meeting which concluded today. Countries including oil-exporting Saudia Arabia expressed the wish to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Almost 200 nations at two-week talks agreed a statement that the fight against climate change was an "urgent duty" and "irreversible".
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Total E-Quality - PIK awarded for equal opportunities

11/15/2016 - The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) again received the award "Total E-Quality". The award is granted for a period of three years to companies, scientific institutions and administrations for exemplary personnel management in terms of equal opportunities. PIK has now received the award for the third time.
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Successful forecast of onset and withdrawal of the Indian Summer Monsoon

11/14/2016 - A team of scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) was able to predict the withdrawal of the Indian Summer Monsoon 70 days in advance and therefore much earlier than previously possible. While their assessment on the expected onset earlier this year already proved correct, the actual weather observations from NOAA now confirm that their unprecedentedly early forecast on the monsoon withdrawal was accurate as well. The heavy summer rains are of crucial relevance for agriculture and accordingly for millions of people on the subcontinent. The improved monsoon predictions are based on a cutting-edge methodology developed at the Potsdam Institute.
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What can Earth‘s past tell us about future global warming?

11/09/2016 - A new analysis of more than 700,000 years climate history shows that with ongoing greenhouse gas emissions our planet might warm even more than previously predicted. In the past, Earth’s temperatures varied strongly, driven by a variety of factors including CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. This provides valuable information for assessing the climate effect of modern times’ burning of fossil fuels. A study now published in Science Advances indicates that human-caused warming might even exceed earlier projections by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This would mean that we can emit even less CO2 to meet the temperature target of the Paris Agreement: keep warming below 2 degrees.
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German government reappoints Schellnhuber to advisory council

11/10/2016 - The Federal Cabinet appointed the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) for its next term - five of the nine Council members have been reappointed, among them PIK director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber and Dirk Messner, Director of the German Development Institute (DIE). For new positions, four women were appointed. With this cast, the council will work for the German government until 2020.
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"The world has to move forward without the US"

11/09/2016 - Science cannot expect positive climate action from President-elect Donald Trump, says Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. "The world has now to move forward without the US on the road towards climate-risk mitigation and clean-technology innovation," he states.
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The Potsdam Institute at COP22 in Marrakech

11/09/2016 - Researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) are attending the current UN climate summit COP22 in Marrakesch from November 7 to 18. Amongst other events, PIK Director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber will speak at a side-event of the German Advisory Council on Global Change on the science-policy dialogue to reach Paris targets. PIK chief economist Ottmar Edenhofer will discuss the potential of the Paris Agreement in a side event with colleagues from Arizona State University, Harvard Kennedy School and others.
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Close exchange with Japan

07/11/2016 - During a visit to Japan, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber further deepened the collaboration between the country´s scientific and political experts and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). In July, PIK director Schellnhuber had visited Fukushima and held a keynote at the International Forum for Sustainable Asia and the Pacific (ISAP). This time he elaborated concrete scientific exchange and policy advice.
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German climate action plan postponed

11/09/2016 - In stark contrast to previous plans, the German Federal Government did not pass its much debated climate action plan "Klimaschutzplan 2050" today. "Germany missed a major opportunity - an opportunity for businesses, since the climate mitigation plan would have offered a framework for developing clean technologies, and an opportunity for reforming the European Emissions Trading System," says Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The government might adopt a revised version of the plan next Wednesday, yet there's uncertainty about how the new document will look like.
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Climate Change in Germany - New Report

11/03/2016 - From mean temperatures to weather extremes: the probably most comprehensive compendium on climate change in Germany was presented in Berlin today. 126 authors describe the possible impacts and adaptation strategies on different natural environments, economic sectors and areas of life. The report, a product of the German Climate Climate Service Center, is designed as a complement to the work of the IPCC and will be published a few days before the next UN climate-conference in Marrakech.
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Paris Agreement risks and opportunities: ADVANCE project presents findings in Brussels

10/24/2016 - To meet the climate stabilization targets of the Paris Agreement, the greenhouse gas emission reduction plans so far presented by nations worldwide have to be substantially improved. While renewables can almost fully decarbonize the power sector, aiming at a 1.5 degrees Celsius limit for global warming would require major additional efforts to also reduce emissions from demand sectors, for instance through a shift to electric and hydrogen vehicles. These are just some of the findings presented at the final meeting of the ADVANCE project this Monday in Brussels. The Acronym stands for “Advanced Model Development and Validation for Improved Analysis of Costs and Impacts of Mitigation policies”, an unprecedented research effort funded by the European Union.
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EU Commission launches high level panel on decarbonisation chaired by Schellnhuber

10/21/2016 - To mobilise the means of science and innovation for implementing the Paris Agreement and supporting EU climate action, the European Commission establishes a High Level Panel on Decarbonisation Pathways. Physicist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), was appointed chair of the panel at its first meeting on Friday in Brussels. The independent group of nine renowned expert - hosted by the Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas - will deliver science-based policy-relevant advice to the European Commission in the form of intermediate policy briefs, and of a final report after three years.
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Eminent Brazilian Climate Scientist visits PIK

19/10/2016 - Carlos A. Nobre, one of the world-leading researchers on the Amazon rainforest and, among several high-ranking engagements, Member of the UN-Secretary General's Science Advisory Board on Global Sustainability, visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
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A new education platform on climate impacts for Germany

13/10/2016 - From the Baltic Seat to the Alps, from the Rhineland to Brandenburg – global climate change also has an impact across Germany. A new educational platform created by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact (PIK) offers students and teachers a concise package of information and scenarios on climate change and its impacts across various sectors in Germany. Information stretches from agriculture to tourism and significantly scales all the way down to the district-level. Besides offering interactive climate projection tutorials, the platform (www.KlimafolgenOnline-Bildung.de) encompasses a glossary on basic climate change concepts as well as teaching materials and course guidelines.
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Edenhofer advises Volkswagen on sustainability issues

09/30/2016 - Volkswagen appointed a sustainability council - one of the members is Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The new body will meet for the first time at the end of October in Berlin. VW is selling more cars than any other corporation worldwide. The company is currently under pressure because of manipulations of diesel engines' emission measurements.
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Crash of seemingly stable social systems: new dynamics detected

09/30/2016 - From Facebook to international climate agreements like the Paris accord that is currently in the ratification process, the stability of complex social networks is still poorly understood. To better assess system crash likelihood, an international team of scientists now proposes a new mathematical system dynamics model. One key factor for system collapse is individual action based on local information, the study finds. When a member of the network - be it a person or a state - observes friends or allies to leave the system, it likely opts out as well. Small perturbations can hence have huge impacts.
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New Artist in Residence: Amy Howden-Chapman

09/29/2016 - From sea-level rise to the "cultural costs of climate change" - Amy Howden-Chapman from New Zealand ist this year's guest artist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Since 2011, PIK's "Artist in Residence" program is realized in cooperation with the Artists in Berlin program of DAAD and since 2015 also in close collaboration with the City of Potsdam.
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Climate games

26/09/2016 - The author of the 1972 classic “The Limits of Growth”, Dennis Meadows, who has often been dubbed the godfather of the environmental movement, visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research for some talks and to present his new book, “The Climate Change Playbook”. He introduced a number of metaphorical games to communicate climate change in a playful way.
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Top scientists: Abandoning the Paris Agreement would harm America and the World

09/23/2016 - In an unprecedented move, 375 renowned scientists including 30 Nobel Laureates have warned the US presidency candidates not to shun the Paris climate agreement. In an open letter published this week, the scholars emphasize that human-caused global warming including its negative impacts is “not a belief, it is a physical reality”. All signers are members of the eminent US National Academy of Sciences, including the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber.
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Giant see-saw of monsoon rains detected

26/09/2016 - When the summer rains in China are weak, they are strong in Australia, and vice versa – scientists have discovered a previously unknown see-saw relationship between these two monsoon regions. This effect does not occur from one year to another, but on decadal and centennial time scales. To detect the pattern, the team developed a novel mathematical method to analyze traces of climatic events of the past 9000 years archived in ancient dripstones from caves. The regional monsoon has huge effects on agriculture and hence on the livelihoods of half of the world’s population, including India and Indonesia. Understanding how seasonal periods of rainfall in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres of our planet are linked is important for assessing possible long-distance effects of climate change.
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