News

Improving the evidence: PIK scientists review quantitative climate migration literature

09/28/2021 - Quantitative empirical studies exploring how climatic and other environmental drivers influence migration are increasing year by year. PIK scientists have now reviewed methodological approaches used in the quantitative climate migration literature. Their review plays an important role when it comes to assessing how climatic factors influence human migration and provides guidance to researchers studying climate-migration.
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Launch of WHO Pandemic Early Warning Center with PIK Researcher Sabine Gabrysch

09/03/2021 - The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a pandemic early warning center in Berlin this week to assist in better preparing for future pandemics. The center was opened by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus - with a panel discussion in which Sabine Gabrysch from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) also participated.
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Assessing the Evidence: Climate Change and Migration in the United Republic of Tanzania

08/31/2021 – Temperature rise, changes in the rainy seasons, extreme weather events: climate impacts pose risks to people in East Africa, especially to those living in rural areas and are heavily dependent on small-scale agriculture. A new report, a joint effort between the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), looks into possible linkages between climate impacts and migration in Tanzania and offers lenses across East Africa. It is accompanied by a Summary Brief in Swahili to broaden accessibility of climate information at the local level. In today’s event, PIK scientist Julia Blocher presented key findings of the report, followed by a virtual panel discussion.
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Press Release

Less trade-offs, more synergies: New pathway to mitigate climate change and boost progress on UN Sustainable Development Goals

08/02/2021 - A world that combats climate change while simultaneously improving on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is possible, a new study finds. Scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the German Development Institute have developed a new integrated strategy that combines ambitious climate action with dedicated policies for development, food and energy access, global and national equity, and environmental sustainability. It sheds new light on bottlenecks, but also synergies for boosting progress towards climate and sustainable development targets.
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Science commentary: Addressing the human cost of displacement in a changing climate

23/06/2021 - In a policy forum contribution just published in a special edition of the renowned journal Science, Jacob Schewe, co-lead of PIK´s FutureLab “Security, Ethnic Conflicts and Migration” and colleagues from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), ETH Zürich and IIASA Vienna discuss the hidden economic impacts of disaster- and climate-related displacement. They argue for locally led displacement risk assessments that account for the potential economic cost of displacement to guide decision making.
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Locked Houses, Fallow Lands: Climate change and migration in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, India

03/25/2021 - Rising temperatures, cloud bursts, and dengue outbreaks: Climate change acts as a risk modifier influencing migration conditions in the Indian Himalayan state of Uttarakhand. Employing the latest climate data, a new report created under the umbrella of the East African Peru India Climate Capacities (EPPIC) project examines how climate impacts such as changing rainfall patterns and increasing extreme weather events affect the state's mountain agriculture and migration processes. In today’s launch, researchers and panelists also discussed what policy measures are needed to manage migration flows and revitalize the economy.
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Brandenburg state government appoints Edenhofer to its Sustainability Advisory Board

02/10/2021 - Ottmar Edenhofer will support the Brandenburg state government in the further development of its sustainability strategy. Together with five other representatives from science, industry and civil society, he was elected to the Sustainability Advisory Board, which advises the state of Brandenburg on current challenges such as climate change, equality of living conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic.
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From droughts to floods: climate change and migration in Peru

02/10/2021 - Too much, too little water: People in Peru are increasingly experiencing climate extremes. If climate impacts like water-related hazards continue to accelerate, more climate-induced migration and severe pressure on people’s well-being could be the consequence. These are the key results of a comprehensive report by a team of natural and social scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) that was presented today during a joint event.
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Climate change and conflict: PIK researchers give policy advice to the German government

02/03/2021 - Training programs on environmental peacebuilding, pooling international expertise to deal with acute risks of violence, and an even stronger focus on gender roles in crisis regions - these are some of the concrete recommendations for action made by the German government's advisory council for civilian crisis prevention and peacebuilding in its latest study on the interactions between climate impacts and security.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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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”.
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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.
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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.
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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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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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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".
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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.
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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.
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