News

 

Elinor Ostrom: "It would be unwise to wait for politics"

07/01/2010 – Around 1300 listeners attended the 2nd Climate Lecture at the Technische Universität (TU) Berlin. A TV recording of the event is now available online.
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Conscious choice of food can substantially mitigate climate change

06/28/2010 - Reducing the consumption of meat and dairy products and improving agricultural practices could decrease global greenhouse gas emissions substantially. By 2055 the emissions of methane and nitrous oxide from agriculture could be cut by more than eighty percent, researchers of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research find. The results of the modelling study have recently been published in the journal “Global Environmental Change”.
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Atlantic surface circulation qualifies as ‘tipped’ element

06/25/2010 - An abrupt and persistent strengthening of the ocean currents forming the Atlantic subpolar gyre could have resulted from a large freshwater flooding event 8,200 years ago. New climate model simulations resolve the contradiction of increased freshwater inflow and enhanced deep water formation in the North Atlantic. The enhanced surface circulation could contribute to the climatic stability since the last ice age, the researchers suggest in the American Geophysical Union’s electronic journal “G-Cubed”.
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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change appoints authors for fifth Assessment Report

06/24/2010 - 831 scientists will contribute to the fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to be published between June 2013 and March 2014. On Wednesday, the IPCC Secretariat in Geneva released the list of experts who will work towards delivering the three Working Groups’ reports. Seven scientists working at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research have been named.
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Climate Action Tracker Update: Little progress - Countries still heading for over 3ºC warming

06/10/2010 - Despite recent developments, actions pledged globally to date on reductions of greenhouse gas emissions give virtually no chance to limit global mean temperature increase to below two degrees Celsius.
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Erhard-Höpfner-Foundation honours PIK-scientist

03/02/2010 - Marianne Haseloff of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has been selected for the Erhard-Höpfner-Award. With the award, the Erhard Höpfner Foundation and the Berliner Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft honour her diploma thesis as an outstanding achievement. The award ceremony will be held today during the members’ assembly of the Berliner Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft.
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Greater than 50% chance of global warming exceeding 3°C by 2100

06/02/2010 - Research results to be launched today at the UNFCCC meeting in Bonn by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Ecofys and Climate Analytics will show that current pledges by countries around the world to cut greenhouse gas emissions are not sufficient to keep global temperature rises below the 2°C agreed in the Copenhagen Accord.
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A global limit on emissions, equal per-capita emissions rights and “peak and trade” emissions trading for the “2°max Climate Strategy”

04/27/2010 – A report by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK-Report No. 116), published today, points at constructional flaws in the current global system for protection of the climate. The authors analyse the interests of the different groups of countries and delineate how international climate policy could be modified to keep global warming to two degrees Celsius, as called for in the Copenhagen Accord.
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Copenhagen Accord misses 2° C climate target

04/22/2010 - The current national emissions-reduction pledges accompanying the Copenhagen Accord will not limit global warming to two degrees Celsius. In fact, they imply a global mean temperature increase of more than three degrees Celsius this century. This is reported by a team of researchers led by Joeri Rogelj and Malte Meinshausen of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in the current edition of the journal “Nature”.
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Editorial on Tipping Elements online-hit of PNAS

04/20/2010 – An article in the renowned journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS) by Hans Joachim Schellnhuber regarding Tipping elements in the Earth System was one of the 30 most read online papers in January and February 2010.
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International Conference “Continents under Climate Change” in Berlin

From 21 to 23 April 2010, the Humboldt-Universität, in co-operation with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, will host the international conference “Continents under Climate Change” in Berlin. Leading scientists from all continents will discuss recent results from ongoing research on global and regional impacts of climate change.
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Europe could create a 100% renewable electricity supply by 2050

03/29/2010 – Renewable energy sources could be used at scale by 2050 if supported by an efficient European transmission grid and a single European power market united with similar grids and markets in North Africa. This is shown in a new report released last week by PricewaterhouseCoopers. A group of energy and climate experts from the company in collaboration with researchers of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the European Climate Forum (ECF) have examined possible transformation paths for the European and North African power sector. A transformation of the power sector based on one hundred percent renewables would address energy security and supply concerns while decarbonising electricity generation and at the same time reduce energy poverty, the report says.
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Technological options are critical for economic viability of 2°C climate target

03/15/2010 - Tapping renewable energy sources, capturing and storing of industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and improving energy efficiency are pivotal for holding the increase in global temperature below two degrees Celsius. In a special issue of “The Energy Journal”, a team of researchers of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and four other European institutions reports that atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases can be stabilized at correspondingly low levels at moderate costs. However, costs, as well as the dependency on specific technologies, increase with the chances to achieve the 2°C target.
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Weakening Sun would hardly slow global warming

03/10/2010 - A new Grand Minimum of solar activity would decrease the rise of global mean temperature caused by human greenhouse gas emissions only marginally. A new modelling study by researchers of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, published online today in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, finds a temperature offset of at most 0.3 degrees Celsius until the end of the century. This is less than ten percent of the temperature rise projected under “business as usual” scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
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Light-based computing, quick as a thought

02/24/2010 - Inspired by the fast processing of information in the human brain, a consortium of European research institutions is developing a novel kind of computing. The EU funded project “PHOCUS” that started in January aims at designing photonic systems, communicating via light, to quickly perform complex computations including the rapid processing of large amounts of data, potentially consuming far less power than current supercomputers.
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Stefan Rahmstorf elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union

02/17/2010 - As a “special tribute for exceptional scientific contributions”, Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research was elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The honorary fellowship is bestowed on only one in each thousand members in any given year, who have attained “acknowledged eminence in the Earth and space sciences”.
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New book rises to the global sustainability challenge

02/08/2010 - In the wake of the Copenhagen climate conference, which ended without a clear mandate for global climate protection, the new book Global Sustainability - A Nobel Cause, published by Cambridge University Press, addresses the main lines of conflicts and offers new solutions. The contributing authors - Nobel laureates in physics, chemistry, medicine, economics and peace, top-level political leaders, representatives of major NGOs and renowned experts on sustainability - point out strategies for the stabilisation of the climate and global sustainable development. The open access publication is now available for download.
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Ambitions of only two developed countries sufficiently stringent for 2°C

2010/02/03 - Only 2 out of 10 developed countries’ reduction targets submitted to the Copenhagen Accord qualify as ‘sufficient’ to keep global temperature rise below 2°C, finds the update of the ’Climate Action Tracker´. The reduction targets of all countries currently associated with the Accord are not consistent with the 2°C goal defined in the very same Accord. The current pledges leave the world heading for a global warming of over 3°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.
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PIK devises climate strategy for Potsdam

01/19/2010 - A consortium of institutes and companies led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) is to develop a strategy for climate protection for the City of Potsdam. The Mayor of Potsdam, capital of the German state of Brandenburg, Jann Jakobs, today entrusted the consortium with devising concepts for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change up to 2050. Following the sobering outcome of the world climate conference in Copenhagen, the engagement of cities, companies and private persons in reduction and adaptation issues appears to be especially important.
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PIK will be leading member of Climate Initiative of European Institute of Innovation and Technology

Budapest/Potsdam, 12/16/2009 - The European Union´s Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) announced today its Knowledge and Innovation Community (‘Climate-KIC’), a cluster of 16 highly integrated partnerships, bringing together excellent higher education, research and business around the topics of climate change mitigation and adaptation. The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) is one of its five major academic partners and will lead the German consortium. Among its members are the Berlin Institute of Technology, the Technische Universität München and the German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam. The Klima Campus Hamburg and the Forschungszentrum Jülich also joined prior to the implementation of the initiative.
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Emissions cut of 40% below 1990 levels by 2020 needed for industrial countries for 2°C limit

12/15/2009 - Authors of the landmark 2009 climate report “The Copenhagen Diagnosis” estimate that by 2020 industrial nations must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by around 40% below 1990 levels to secure a decent chance of avoiding dangerous human interference with the climate system.
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Intelligent transfer of information on climate protection and adaptation options - PIK and GTZ present climate information service

12/12/2009 - In the light of the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) together with the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) presented a preview of its climate service “ci:grasp” (Climate Impacts: Global and Regional Adaptation Support Platform) last thursday. “The central idea behind our platform is to develop a science-based tool to support decision making on adaptation to climate impacts at the regional level,” says Jürgen Kropp, Head of the North-South research group at PIK, which is developing the ci:grasp platform. The methodological approach guarantees higher efficiency of financial investments into adaptation measures as they can be focused and their effects be maximized.
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Tipping Elements in the Earth System: How Stable is the Contemporary Environment?

12/08/2009 - A Special Feature of the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” presents the latest scientific insights on so-called tipping elements in the planetary environment. These elements have been identified as the most vulnerable large-scale components of the Earth System that may be profoundly altered by human interference. If one or more of those components is tipped – especially in the course of global warming – then the age of remarkably stable environmental conditions on Earth throughout the Holocene may end quickly and irreversibly.
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Sea Level Rise could reach 1.9 Metres this century

12/07/2009 - A new scientific study warns that sea level could rise much faster than previously expected. By the year 2100, global sea level could rise between 75 and 190 centimetres, according to a paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
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Climate Scientists make 'Copenhagen Diagnosis'

24/11/2009 - Climate change is accelerating beyond expectations, urgent emissions reductions required, say leading scientists.
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Model Climate Summit in Potsdam: Students negotiate World Climate Treaty

11/18/2009 - Three weeks before the United Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen fifty students take over the role of heads of states of the key players among both developing and developed countries. During a one-day simulated UN Climate Summit “Model-COP15” they try to negotiate a realistic but still innovative suggestion of a post-Kyoto Climate treaty.
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The nature of past Antarctic temperature lead over carbon dioxide is clarified

11/11/2009 - The analysis of past changes of Antarctic temperature and the concentration of greenhouse gases alone cannot reveal causal relationships in the climate system. A recent modeling study shows that several climate processes need to be taken into account to discern causes and consequences. In the journal “Quaternary Science Reviews” researchers provide an explanation for observed Antarctic temperature lead over carbon dioxide concentration for several recent glacial-interglacial transitions.
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60 Nobel Laureates: Copenhagen must be a Turning Point towards Global Sustainability

11/10/2009 - 60 Nobel Laureates are calling on world leaders for a global deal on climate change that matches the scale and urgency of the human, ecological and economic crises facing the world today. Political leadership is now more necessary than ever. The call comes in a Memorandum signed by Laureates from across the disciplines, including Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Mikhail Gorbachev, his Holiness the Dalai Lama, Mohamed el-Baradei, chief of the IAEA, and winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature Doris Lessing, John Coetzee and Wole Soyinka.
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Schellnhuber briefs UN on Tipping Elements and Budget Approach

11/05/2009 - “The window of opportunity to avert the most serious impacts of climate change is closing rapidly,” Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and chair of the German government’s Advisory Council on Global Change, said at a briefing session at UN headquarters in New York today. The session was organized by the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
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Europe will profit from climate protection if it acts now

09/11/03 - RECIPE (Report on Energy and Climate Policy in Europe), a European study on the costs of climate protection, has demonstrated for the first time that: • Early action is the only way to avert dangerous consequences from climate change at manageable costs. • Europe will profit from a leadership role, even if other countries continue to hesitate • Distributing the costs of climate protection will not overburden any region of the world; transfers to emerging nations will keep overall costs down • Climate change can only be contained if measures take effect by 2020
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