Statement

US Presidentials results: "Unprecedented opportunity to lock in climate stabilization"

11/08/2020 - According to media reports Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have defeated Donald Trump in the US Presidential elections. This can have substantial relevance for international climate pathways. On this issue, statements by the two scientific Directors of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, economist Ottmar Edenhofer and Earth system scientist Johan Rockström.
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Event

"System Transformation": #RaceToZero UNFCCC pre-COP26 event

11/04/2020 - The #RaceToZero dialogues on how to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions kick off on Monday, 9th of November, organized by UNFCCC and COP26 world climate summit team. The Club of Rome and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research are joining forces to host the opening session on “Systems Transformation” - for a new resilience agenda for people, planet, prosperity. With presentations by Johan Rockström (Director of PIK) and Sandrine Dixson-Declève (Co-President of The Club of Rome) as well as a high-level panel discussion, this online event introduces all participants to ten days filled with keynotes, showcases and High-Level Champions all combined for a systemic transformation to reach the climate stabilization goals of the Paris Agreement.
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News

"Climate has reached a global crisis point": PIK Director Joins TED Countdown

10/15/2020 - “We Can Change Climate Change” – this is the slogan of TED Countdown, a year-long initiative by scientists, artists, government officials and activists to collectively develop concrete ideas for a cleaner future. PIK Director Johan Rockström contributed with an engaging and energizing video statement.
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Press Release

Biggest CO2 drop: Real-time data shows Covid-19’s massive impact on global emissions

10/14/2020 - While the ongoing Corona pandemic continues to threaten millions of lives around the world, the first half of 2020 saw an unprecedented decline in CO2 emissions – larger than during the financial crisis of 2008, the oil crisis of 1979, or even World War II. An international team of researchers has found that in the first six months of this year, 8.8 percent less carbon dioxide were emitted than in the same period in 2019 – a total decrease of 1551 million tonnes. The groundbreaking study not only offers a much more precise look at COVID-19’s impact on global energy consumption than previous analyses. It also suggests what fundamental steps could be taken to stabilize the global climate in the aftermath of the pandemic.
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Press Release

Edenhofer awarded with most prestigious environmental prize

09/02/2020 - This year’s "Umweltpreis" – the most prestigious environmental prize in Germany – goes to Ottmar Edenhofer. Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt honours the Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK, member of Leibniz Association), and of the Mercator Research Institute for Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), for his groundbreaking work namely in the field of carbon pricing. The award will be presented to Edenhofer by the German head of state, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on 25 October in Hanover.
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Press Release

Heating our climate damages our economies – study reveals greater costs than expected

08/19/2020 - Rising temperatures due to our greenhouse gas emissions can cause greater damages to our economies than previous research suggested, a new study shows. Scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Mercator Research Institute for Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) took a closer look at what climate change does to regions at the sub-national level, such as US states, Chinese provinces or French départements, based on a first-of-its-kind dataset by MCC. If CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels are not reduced rapidly, a global warming of 4°C until 2100 can make that regions lose almost 10% of economic output on average and more than 20% in the tropics.
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Press Release

Climate Stabilization: Lessons from the Corona Crisis

08/17/2020 - The dynamics of the current COVID-19 pandemic could offer valuable insights for the efforts to mitigate climate change. Highlighting the parallels between the global health and the climate emergency, a team of researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) has analyzed what policy makers and citizens can learn from the corona outbreak and how to apply it to the global effort of reducing CO2 emissions. Their proposal: A Climate Corona Contract that unites the younger and the older generations.
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News

Engage with the altruists, ignore the free-riders: New study explores communication dynamics in climate negotiations

07/16/2020 - Communication is the key to overcoming the social dilemma of mitigating climate change, which requires investments from various actors towards a common goal. According to a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and co-authored by Jürgen Kurths and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, communicating sentiment and outlook significantly improves group interactions in climate change mitigation processes.
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Press Release

An Economic Case for the UN Climate Targets: Early and strong climate action pays off

07/13/2020 - Climate action is not cheap – but climate damages aren’t, either. So what level of climate action is best, economically speaking? This question has puzzled economists for decades, and in particular since the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics went to William Nordhaus, who found 3.5 degrees of warming by 2100 might be an economically desirable outcome. An international team of scientists led by the Potsdam Institute has now updated the computer simulation model used to come to this conclusion with latest data and insights from both climate science and economics. They found that limiting global warming to below 2 degrees strikes an economically optimal balance between future climate damages and today’s climate mitigation costs. This would require a price of CO2 of more than 100 US Dollar per ton.
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News

Science Platform Climate Protection: The German government's Corona economic stimulus package needs a climate impact assessment

07/09/2020 - On July 9, 2020, the Steering Committee of the German Science Platform Climate Protection (WPKS) presented and discussed with State Secretaries Jochen Flasbarth (BMU) and Wolf-Dieter Lukas (BMBF) a statement on climate policy requirements for the design of economic stimulus packages in the Corona crisis. Eight renowned scientists from various disciplines coordinate the tasks of the Science Platform Climate Protection in the Steering Committee. In doing so, they support the Federal Government in the implementation and further development of the Climate Protection Plan 2050 and thus contribute to achieving national, European and international climate protection goals.
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Shaping the energy transition together: Kopernikus project Ariadne launched

07/03/2020 - From our energy supply to the industry and the Paris climate targets, from individual sectors to the big picture: a network of leading research institutions is now starting an unparalleled research process focused on shaping the German energy transition. The Ariadne project aims at improving our understanding of the impact of different policy instruments in order to develop sound strategies for change. From the very beginning, a comprehensive dialogue between decision-makers from politics, business, and civil society will be a core part of the project.
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Press Release

Direct CO2 pricing gives room for additional voluntary emissions reductions

06/30/2020- Most climate economist agree that it makes sense to put a price tag on the emission of the most important greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, CO2. The discussion primarily revolves around whether it would be better to achieve this through a tax or emissions trading. Arguments include the administrative effort involved, the signal effect for investors, and the political enforceability. A new study based on a scientifically controlled experiment now sheds light on another aspect that has barely been researched so far: the incentive effect of both options on actors who want to act morally beyond their economic interests. The study was conducted by the economists Axel Ockenfels, Peter Werner and Ottmar Edenhofer, and has now been published in the renowned journal Nature Sustainability.
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Climate research informing global finance: Scenarios can serve as yardstick for central banks’ risk assessment

06/24/2020 – Stability is at the core of central banks’ objectives. To assess climate destabilization risks, major central banks and supervisors plan to utilise climate scenarios developed by a team of researchers led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. These scenarios will inform the climate stress tests that central banks like the Bank of England or the Banque de France are planning to apply to the financial institutions they regulate. The work was commissioned by the “Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System” (NGFS), a group of 66 central banks and supervisors around the globe which aims to develop climate risk management in the financial sector.
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Berlin Climate and Security Conference Kicks Off Major New Risk Assessment

06/23/2020 - Climate destabilization increases risks to peace and security - to address these risks, scientists and policy-makers are teaming up to find solutions. The Berlin Climate and Security Conference (BCSC) is the global meeting place for leaders from governments, international organisations, the scientific community, the private sector and civil society to explore how climate change is impacting peace and security—and what action the international community can take to tackle climate-fragility risks. This year the high-level event, which features statements from over 14 foreign ministers, heads of state, and UN chiefs, explores the steps necessary to ensure we build a climate- and conflict-sensitive post-Covid world. It is organised by the German Federal Foreign Office, in partnership with adelphi and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
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Federal Government reappoints Wolfgang Lucht to the German Advisory Council

10.06.2020 - The German government has reappointed Wolfgang Lucht to its German Advisory Council on the Environment. Lucht is co-head of the Earth System Analysis Department at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and has been a member of the Council for the past four years. Only a few days ago, the seven-member Council submitted a report of several hundred pages - which is only published every four years - to the Federal Minister for the Environment, Svenja Schulze. The committee of professors repeatedly takes a critical stance on current issues and thus advises the government.
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Making sense of climate scenarios: toolkit for decision-makers launched

03/06/2020 - To make climate scenarios work for decision-makers, an international team of researchers developed a comprehensive interactive online platform. It is the first of its kind to provide the tools to use those scenarios – from climate impacts to mitigation and energy options – to a broader public beyond science. The scenarios help policy makers and businesses, finance actors and civil society alike to assess the threat of global warming and ways to limit it.
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Caring for the future is key for cooperation to prevent climate collapse: study

20/05/2020 - How much decision-makers care about the future and not just the present is one key factor for whether or not they take action to stabilize our climate. Another one is how severe they assume the impacts of climate collapse to be. However, the number of actors is decisive – for instance the number of relevant countries, since efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have to be international to add up to the amount needed to prevent a crisis. This is shown by a novel mathematical study. It finds a strong effect of diffusion of responsibility in scenarios with large numbers of actors. The study combines game theory and learning dynamics to explore which options for enhanced political cooperation should now urgently be studied empirically.
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Petersberg Dialogue: Merkel speech on climate "an important reassurance"

29/04/2020 - This week, international decision-makers met online for the Petersberg Climate Dialogue. Germany's head of government Angela Merkel in her speech reaffirmed her commitment to climate stabilization. "This is an important reassurance in the midst of the global health crisis", comment the Directors of the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research.
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Five years after the Paris Agreement: Large gap between promises and current implementation

29/04/2020 - Achieving the overall goals of the Paris Agreement will require a deep reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions, ideally by around 40%–50% by 2030. However, current national implementation of climate policies remains insufficient, yielding only around 5.5% reduction in emissions by 2030. The study was coordinated by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and Utrecht University in cooperation with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and was published in Nature Communications. The findings are a contribution to the global evaluation of the Paris Agreement, held during the next three years.
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G20 and climate: Edenhofer speaks at Global Solutions Summit

23/04/2020 - To advance the coupling of economic and environmental prosperity, leading thinkers and doers assembled at this year's Global Solutions Summit. PIK Director Ottmar Edenhofer was invited to deliver a keynote on what the G20 – the world’s largest economies – can do to prepare the road towards the next global climate summit COP26. The focus was on how to ensure functioning global carbon markets. Gunnar Luderer, also from the Potsdam Institute, participated in a panel debate on a circular carbon economy – in fact mitigation options such as storing or re-using CO2 emissions, or using biomass and renewables based-fuels.
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Digital Earth Day 2020: A Conversation between Greta Thunberg and Johan Rockström from the Nobel Museum

April 22, 2020 marked the 50th year since Earth Day was first organised to highlight major environmental challenges in the world. On that day, Greta Thunberg and Johan Rockström have met for a digital conversation about courage, solidarity and opportunities in times of crisis. Greta stressed the need to listen to the science – in both the Corona pandemic and the climate emergency. The talk was hosted by the Nobel Foundation and live-streamed from the Nobel Prize Museum, Stockholm. Over 600 people from all over the world have tuned in, a few thousand watched the recorded version on Youtube, and many media have covered it. The talk is still available online, see link below.
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Coal exit benefits outweigh its costs

23/03/2020 - Coal combustion is not only the single most important source of CO2, accounting for more than a third of global emissions, but also a major contributor to detrimental effects on public health and biodiversity. Yet, globally phasing out coal remains one of the hardest political nuts to crack. New computer simulations by an international team of researchers are now providing robust economic arguments for why it is worth the effort: For once, their simulations show that the world cannot stay below the 2 degrees limit if we continue to burn coal. Second, the benefits of phasing out coal clearly outweigh the costs. Third, those benefits occur mostly locally and short-term, which make them useful for policy makers.
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Regional nuclear war a risk for global food security

16/03/2020 - Even a limited nuclear war could have dangerous effects far beyond the region that is fatally hit. It would result in global cooling that substantially reduces agricultural production in the world’s main breadbasket regions, from the US, to Europe, Russia, and China. The particular effect on food security worldwide including trade responses has now for the first time been revealed by an international team of scientists in a study based on advanced computer simulations. The sudden temperature reduction would lead to a food system shock unprecedented in documented history. It would not undo long-term climate change from fossil fuels use, though – after about a decade of cooling, global warming would surge again.
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Rockström speaks to Central Asian Ministers at German Foreign Office

29/02/2020 – Tackling climate change through increased regional cooperation – that is the goal of the “Green Central Asia Initiative” now launched by the German Federal Foreign office. It grounds on the conviction that climate protection and security are two sides of the same coin. PIK director Johan Rockström delivered the keynote speech on the vulnerability of Central Asia and namely Afghanistan to climate change, and the importance of science in deepening our understanding of it.
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Identifiying crises through network connections: Nature Physics publication

27/02/2020 - From a Wuhan market to Europe and the US: A chain of infection enabled the spread of coronavirus. Trade and travel played the deciding role. Events that have been locally confined in the past are today damaging the global economy. When local networks become internationally connected, scientists call this percolation. An international team of researchers now developed a mathematical approach to better predict when percolation arises and disappears. Their findings have been published in the highly renowned journal Nature Physics this month.
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Potsdam Climate Council: Fritz Reußwig appointed as expert

25/02/2020 - PIK sociologist Fritz Reußwig has been appointed to the new Potsdam Climate Council. In the eight-member expert committee he will be in charge of the domain "private households and consumption" for the current term. As honorary body, the Potsdam Climate Council has the task of accompanying the implementation the city's climate mitigation master plan, identifying possible conflicts of objectives in the implementation and providing impulses in the social discourse towards more sustainability and climate protection.
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Bundesbank experts discuss climate risks for finance

13/02/2020 - Climate risks for finance were at the centre of a joint workshop at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) with experts from the German Bundesbank. Both the physical impacts of global warming, for instance weather extremes, and the economical impacts of transitioning to net zero CO2 emissions have huge implications. The experts and scientists discussed potential future collaborations, namely on data exchange and computer simulation modelling.
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Eurogroup Finance Ministers debate with Edenhofer

17/02/2020 - The Eurogroup Finance Ministers invited climate economist Ottmar Edenhofer to speak at their Brussels meeting this Monday. They expect him to “bring a fresh perspective” based on his “important contributions to the research and public debate on the economics of the climate transition”. Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, will talk about environmental taxation that could help both climate stabilization and social equity.
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PIK again among the world's best climate think tanks

31/01/2020 - For 2019, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) was again one of the most influential think tanks in the field of environmental policy. That is the result of this year's "Global Go To Think Tank Index Report" published by the University of Pennsylvania. The ranking includes more than 6,500 institutions worldwide.
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Edenhofer: Shutting down German power stations could have been achieved more cheaply

29.01.2020 - Today, about a year after the report of the so-called Commission, the German government passed the Kohleausstiegsgesetz (Coal Exit Law). Power generation from lignite and hard coal, accounting for 28 percent of gross electricity generation in 2019, shall be stopped by 2038. Lignite operators will receive 4.35 billion euros in compensation; further compensation to hard coal operators will be determined and distributed through auctions. In addition, coal regions will receive 40 billion euros in structural aid.
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