News

Deeper cooperation between PIK and BMZ

01/20/2021 - During today's kick-off event of the "Berlin Insights Series on Climate Change and Development", Johan Rockström from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and State Secretary Martin Jäger from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which marks the beginning of a deeper cooperation between PIK and BMZ.
Read More
News

Pope Francis appoints Edenhofer to help in “Promoting Integral Human Development”

01/12/2021 - Ottmar Edenhofer will from now on advise the Vatican's “Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.” The Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) was appointed by Pope Francis, who created the institution just a few years ago. The dicastery's mission is to strengthen justice for refugees and stateless people who have had to leave their homes due to violence, economic crises or natural disasters, as well as promoting justice for the sick and poor.
Read More
News

Climate change projected to double the number of people facing extreme drought

01/11/2021 - If current rates of global warming continue, up to 8 percent of the world's population – twice as many people as today – could be threatened by extreme droughts by the end of the 21st century. This is the key finding of a comprehensive study by an international team of scientists, including Jacob Schewe, Anne Gädecke, and Dieter Gerten from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Without effective climate change mitigation and resource maintenance, the authors argue, global water shortages could have disastrous ramifications.
Read More
News

The climate crisis makes people ill - four proposals towards a healthy future

12/03/2020 - Today the 2020 Lancet Countdown, the new report on the relationship between health and climate change, has been released. It shows that the health risks posed by a changing climate are increasing worldwide, including Germany - and that countermeasures are possible.
Read More

Podcast: Separating Fact from Fiction on Climate-Induced Migration and Conflicts

Global estimates of the number of people who may be displaced in the future by climate change abound. Which of these figures can we trust? PIK researcher Julia Blocher explains in a new podcast for Migration Policy Institute (MPI) why that is not necessarily the right question to ask for evidence-based policies and operations. She also outlines her recent research on climate-conflict linkages.
Read More

Training webinar for staff of three Peruvian ministries on climate change and migration

Peru is currently breaking new grounds with the development of an Action Plan on Climate Migration, as envisaged in its Climate Change Framework Law. PIK researcher Jonas Bergmann has supported the development scientifically, in cooperation with IOM, most recently by providing a second training webinar for ministerial staff in Peru.
Read More
News

Sabine Gabrysch appointed to Advisory Council of the Federal Government

15.10.2020 - The Federal Cabinet has appointed new members to the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). Six of the nine Advisory Council members were appointed for the first time, including Sabine Gabrysch from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
Read More
Press Release

Climate Change triggers migration – particularly in middle-income and agricultural countries

09/14/2020 - Environmental hazards affect populations worldwide and can drive migration under specific conditions. Changes in temperature levels, increased rainfall variability, and rapid-onset disasters, such as tropical storms, are important factors as shown by a new study led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Environmental migration is most pronounced in middle-income and agricultural countries but weaker in low-income countries, where populations often lack resources needed for migration. The findings make it possible to identify geographical regions that may be especially susceptible to migration movements in the future.
Read More
News

“One Health”: PIK researcher Sabine Gabrysch appointed to BMZ advisory council

08/14/2020 - What can we learn from the current Corona pandemic, especially with regards to the relationship between people and the planet? How are human and animal health, environment, climate and biodiversity linked? The advisory council ‘One Health’, recently established by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), looks into such questions – and Sabine Gabrysch, head of PIK´s Research Department on Climate Resilience and Charité Professor, has been appointed as a member.
Read More
Press Release

Road access for all would be costly, but not so much for the climate

07/10/2020 - One of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals aims to ensure access to transport infrastructure for all. A team of researchers led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) has now brought together various data sets to quantify the economic costs as well as climate implications of achieving this goal by providing universal road access. The result: While such road extension would weigh very heavily on individual countries’ budgets, on the global CO2 emissions budget it would not. To connect almost all the world’s population, the global road network would only need to be extended by 8 per cent, causing a total CO2 emissions of about 1.5 per cent of what we can emit while keeping global warming below 2 degree Celsius.
Read More

Innovations for sustainability in a post-pandemic future

07/07/2020 - The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust the world into turmoil and disrupted the status quo, but it is also providing opportunities for innovation in the way we live and work. According to the latest report released by The World in 2050 (TWI2050) initiative, the crisis can lead to creating sustainable societies with higher levels of wellbeing for all. Beyond political will, small-scale, granular innovations that are affordable and can be widely applied are key here.
Read More

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).
Read More

Johan Rockström receives Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation Award

11/06/2020 - The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation has honored personalities and organisations for their commitment to the preservation of the planet since 2008. This morning, the Foundation announced this year´s three winners in the categories “Water”, “Climate Change” and “Biodiversity”.
Read More

The Sustainability Dialogues Podcast

05/06/2020 - What happens when a professional snowboarder and a distinguished climate scientist take off to the mountains together? The results are now public – a podcast with five episodes, covering topics from ice and glaciers to what to eat to save the world.
Read More

From artificial meat to fine-tuning photosynthesis: Food System Innovation – and how to get there

19/05/2020 - Food production has always shaped the lives of humans and the surface of the Earth. Be it plough or refrigerator, time and again innovations have transformed the ways we grow, process, and consume food over the last millennia. Today, with almost 40 per cent of all land on Earth used for food production, the food system massively impacts climate and environment – from nitrogen flows to water use, from biodiversity to greenhouse gas emissions. In a new study published in the journal NatureFOOD, an international team of researchers has now assessed and categorised key innovations with a potential to transform the food system, from artificial meat or seafood to biofortified crops or improved climate forecasts – and established what is most needed to make them succeed.
Read More

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.
Read More

Novel network analysis confirms: #stayathome helps limit virus mutations

16/04/2020 – Both the virus diseases of the 2013 Ebola regional epidemic and the current COVID-19 global pandemic have seen virus mutations between hosts – a normal phenomenon with the potential to turn viruses even more harmful. A team of scientists including researchers from Humboldt University and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has now employed advanced mathematical models to explore these dynamics. Their findings confirm public health responses like suspending long-haul travel, but also the call to stay at home. Further, they underline the importance of closely tracking genetic mutations during virus outbreaks to facilitate crisis response.
Read More

Johan Rockström joins Daimler’s Advisory Board for Corporate Responsibility

Spring 2020 – Daimler, the automobile manufacturer, known for premium cars and the largest heavy vehicle producer in the world in the world, has called upon Johan Rockström to join its Advisory Board for Integrity and Corporate Responsibility. As one of nine independent members from science, civic organizations, and business, the Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) will offer his critical thinking to the change process the car industry is facing.
Read More

Climate disasters increase risks of armed conflicts: new evidence

02/04/2020 - The risk for violent clashes increases after weather extremes such as droughts or floods hit people in vulnerable countries, an international team of scientists finds. Vulnerable countries are characterized by a large population, political exclusion of particular ethnic groups, and low development. The study combines global statistical analysis, observation data and regional case study assessments to yield new evidence for policy-makers.
Read More

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.
Read More

EU Commission draft climate law is "an important step" - yet comprehensive CO2 pricing is needed: Edenhofer

Today, the EU Commission proposed a draft climate law, containing regulation to implement parts of its Green Deal plan. On this issue, Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Professor for Climate Economics at Technische Universität Berlin, Germany, published a statement. Setting the right targets is not enough, he argues - "we need well-defined pathways and short-term entry points to reach them".
Read More

Focus on food to address climate change

18/02/2020 - Bringing together agricultural production, supply chains, and consumption: In a comment published in the new journal Nature Food researchers discuss a new global food system approach to climate change research. When these activities are considered together, they represent 21 to 37 percent of total human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, the authors note. This new approach also enables a fuller assessment of the vulnerability of the global food system to increasing droughts, intensifying heatwaves, heavier downpours, and exacerbated coastal flooding. Food system responses thus play a major role in both adapting to and mitigating climate change, the authors assert.
Read More

Buildings can become a global CO2 sink if made out of wood instead of cement and steel

A material revolution replacing cement and steel in urban construction by wood can have double benefits for climate stabilization, a new study shows. First, it can avoid greenhouse gas emissions from cement and steel production. Second, it can turn buildings into a carbon sink as they store the CO2 taken up from the air by trees that are harvested and used as engineered timber. However while the required amount of timber harvest is available in theory, such an upscaling would clearly need most careful, sustainable forest management and governance, the international team of authors stresses.
Read More

Climate costs smallest if warming is limited to 2°C

27/01/2020 - Climate costs are likely smallest if global warming is limited to 2 degrees Celsius. The politically negotiated Paris Agreement is thus also the economically sensible one, Potsdam researchers find in a new study. Using computer simulations of a model by US Nobel Laureate William Nordhaus, they weight climate damages from, for instance, increasing weather extremes or decreasing labour productivity against the costs of cutting greenhouse gas emission by phasing out coal and oil. Interestingly, the economically most cost-efficient level of global warming turns out to be the one more than 190 nations signed as the Paris Climate Agreement. So far however, CO2 reductions promised by nations worldwide are insufficient to reach this goal.
Read More

Feeding the world without wrecking the planet is possible

20/01/2020 - Almost half of current food production is harmful to our planet – causing biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation and water stress. But as world population continues to grow, can that last? A study led by researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) now suggests a comprehensive solution package for feeding 10 billion people within our planet’s environmental boundaries. Supplying a sufficient and healthy diet for every person whilst keeping our biosphere largely intact will require no less than a technological and socio-cultural U-turn. It includes adopting radically different ways of farming, reduction of food waste, and dietary changes. The study's publication coincides with the World Economic Forum in Davos and the International Green Week in Berlin, the world's biggest food and agriculture fair.
Read More

Potsdam: Kira Vinke is awarded best PhD Thesis Prize for Work on Climate Migration

29/11/2019 – Kira Vinke from PIK is the first political scientist to receive the Potsdam Young Scientist Award. The prize was awarded to her for her dissertation on "Unsettling Settlements: Cities, Migrants, Climate Change. Rural-Urban Climate Migration as Effective Adaption?" The honor was awarded to her by Lord Mayor Mike Schubert at a ceremony at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
Read More

Climate tipping points – too risky to bet against

28/11/2019 - From the Greenland and West-Antarctic ice sheets to coral reefs or the Amazon rainforest – a number of critical elements in the Earth system could be more likely to tip than was previously thought, a group of leading scientists warns in in the highly renowned journal Nature. Evidence is mounting that these events are also more interconnected, which could eventually lead to domino effects. A possible tipping cascade of irreversible changes might put the livelihoods of people around the world at risk and marks a state of planetary emergency, the authors argue in their comment.
Read More

Decarbonizing the power sector: renewable energy offers most benefits for health and environment

19/11/2019 - Electricity supply is one of the biggest CO2 emitters globally. To keep global warming well below 2°C, several paths lead to zero emissions in the energy sector, and each has its potential environmental impacts - such as air and water pollution, land-use or water demand. Using a first-time combination of multiple modelling systems, an international team of researchers led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) has now quantified the actual benefits and downsides of three main roads to decarbonisation. They show that relying mainly on wind and solar would bring most co-benefits for the health of people and planet. Switching to carbon capture and storage in combination with fossil and biomass resources, in turn, is likely to convey significant environmental costs by devouring large areas at the cost of biodiversity, and by releasing pollutants to the environment.
Read More

Lancet Countdown: Forschungsbericht zu Klimawandel und Gesundheit

14.11.2019 - Bis zum Ende dieses Jahrhunderts sind jährlich bis zu fünf zusätzliche Hitzewellen in Norddeutschland und bis zu 30 in Süddeutschland zu erwarten, wenn wir mit dem Ausstoß von Treibhausgasen so weitermachen wie bisher. Damit einhergehender Hitzestress und hohe bodennahe Ozonkonzentrationen können schwerwiegende Folgen für die menschliche Gesundheit haben. Dazu zählen unter anderem Hitzschlag, Herzinfarkt und akutes Nierenversagen aufgrund von Flüssigkeitsmangel. Am stärksten gefährdet sind ältere Menschen, Säuglinge, Patienten mit chronischen Erkrankungen sowie Personen, die schwere körperliche Arbeit im Freien verrichten, etwa Bauarbeiter.
Read More

PIK and MCC deliver detailed assessment of German climate package

14/10/2019 - The climate protection programme adopted by the Federal Government last week, which is intended to limit greenhouse gas emissions especially in the transport and heating sectors, is unlikely to be sufficient to achieve the 2030 climate targets. Policymakers need to make four particular adjustments: first, they need to raise the level of ambition for the carbon price; second, they need to improve social balance; third, they need to develop further its integration with the EU level; and fourth, they need to introduce an effective monitoring process. This is the core message of a detailed assessment of the climate package, presented by the Berlin climate research institute MCC (Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
Read More