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Historic climate agreement: “The spirits of Paris have defeated the ghosts of Copenhagen"

Historic climate agreement: “The spirits of Paris have defeated the ghosts of Copenhagen"

12/14/2015 - 195 states worldwide adopted a breakthrough climate agreement at the UN climate summit in Paris, COP21. Leading scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research actively participated in the historic meeting that put the world on the path to limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and bring down greenhouse-gas emissions to net zero within a few decades. While implementing the treaty will be an enormous challenge, for the first time ever climate stabilization and hence limiting climate risks including weather extremes and sea-level rise comes into reach. It is the beginning, not the end, of a process that now requires rapid implementation strong policy instruments that live up to the aspirations of the agreement.

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Unprecedented number of briefings in run-up of climate summit

Unprecedented number of briefings in run-up of climate summit

11/16/2015 - In the run-up of the much anticipated UN climate summit in Paris, scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) are involved in an unprecedented number of briefings and public events. In this crucial time, stakeholders and media increasingly ask for the perspective of science on the state of the Earth and perspectives for climate policy. Yet PIK scientists also try to directly inform interested citizens. It is impossible to provide a complete list of all such outreach efforts, but here are some noteworthy examples.

Unprecedented number of briefings in run-up of climate summit - Read More…

Making sense of emission reduction pledges: modeling experts gather in Potsdam

Making sense of emission reduction pledges: modeling experts gather in Potsdam

11/16/2015 - Economists and scientists this week come from all over the world to Potsdam for the annual meeting of the Integrated Assessment Modeling Consortium (IAMC). In the run-up of the UN climate summit in Paris, one focus of the experts’ discussions will be the greenhouse gas emission reduction pledges of governments, the so-called INDCs. To assess their real-world effects is crucial for mapping out policy options for and beyond the summit. Other issues to be debated include the modeling of climate impacts and sustainable development implications, the use of scenarios and the evaluation of model analysis.

Making sense of emission reduction pledges: modeling experts gather in Potsdam - Read More…

Edenhofer: A price for CO2 instead of emission targets at the World Climate Summit?

Edenhofer: A price for CO2 instead of emission targets at the World Climate Summit?

10.11.2015 - A global price target for CO2 might be a more sensible objective for the COP21 Climate Conference instead of the currently discussed emission volume targets. This is what Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, is stating together with the renowned economic researcher Axel Ockenfels from Cologne, in a major guest article in the influential German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung only weeks before the much awaited UN climate conference in Paris. Such a price could provide incentives to invest in alternative technologies and to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

Edenhofer: A price for CO2 instead of emission targets at the World Climate Summit? - Read More…

How new coal power plants let climate goals go up in smoke

How new coal power plants let climate goals go up in smoke

09/17/2015 - The window of opportunity for a global fossil fuel phase out is closing faster than expected. In particular poor but fast-growing developing countries are currently investing heavily in the construction of new coal power plants. However, one reason why this source of fuel is so cheap is that its price does not incorporate the social costs, such as health. This is the topic of the article “King Coal and the Queen of Subsidies” by Ottmar Edenhofer, chief-economist at the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research and Director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), now published in the journal Science.

How new coal power plants let climate goals go up in smoke - Read More…

Edenhofer speaking to finance ministers at OECD green tax conference

Edenhofer speaking to finance ministers at OECD green tax conference

07/15/2015 - Strategies for environmental tax reform and growth were at the focus of a talk given by Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, at a high-level conference in the run-up of the world climate summit in Paris COP21 later this year. The recent meeting was a joint initiative by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Worldbank and others. It was attended by Finance and Environment Ministers, senior policy makers and experts from more than 90 countries, including China and Indonesia, Mexico and Egypt, Sweden and Portugal.

Edenhofer speaking to finance ministers at OECD green tax conference - Read More…

Our Common Future Under Climate Change

Our Common Future Under Climate Change

07/10/2015 - This week, thousands of climate and social scientists as well as policy experts have met for the “Our Common Future under Climate Change” conference at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, among them a large number of experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). It has been the biggest gathering of high-ranking scientists paving the way for COP21 in December, laying out the state of science for fact-based decision-making.

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Pope Francis' encyclical: PIK-scientists to speak in the Vatican and in Berlin

Pope Francis' encyclical: PIK-scientists to speak in the Vatican and in Berlin

06/12/2015 - When the much anticipated environmental encyclical will be launched on 18 June, John Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) will give a speech in the Vatican. He's the only scientist to join Cardinal Peter Turkson for the presentation. In the run-up of the encyclical, Schellnhuber participated in a number of workshops organised by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The document issued by the leader of more than one billion Catholics around the world is expected to be an important signal on the road to a global agreement on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions which will be negotiated by governements at the world climate summit in Paris later this year.

Pope Francis' encyclical: PIK-scientists to speak in the Vatican and in Berlin - Read More…

Earth Day: Leading climate scientists publish essential elements for a global climate agreement

Earth Day: Leading climate scientists publish essential elements for a global climate agreement

04/22/2015 - The Earth League, an international alliance of prominent climate scientists, outlined the elements of a global climate agreement in a stark statement published today, coinciding with Earth Day. Written by 17 world-leading scientists, among them PIK director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, their statement clarifies in eight essential elements, what an international climate agreement in line with the 2 degree target should achieve in Paris in December. Bold action by decision-makers is required now to pave the way for a successful international agreement to reduce the risk of dangerous climate change, the Earth League members say.

Earth Day: Leading climate scientists publish essential elements for a global climate agreement - Read More…

IPCC scientist appointed professor

IPCC scientist appointed professor

02/10/2015 - The head of the Technical Support Unit of the IPCC’s Working Group on climate change mitigation, hosted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), has now been appointed as Professor for Science-Policy and Sustainable Development at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. The scientist, Jan Minx, also serves as head of the new working group “Applied Sustainability Science” at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), and he remains a guest scientist at PIK. Both the Working Group on mitigation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and MCC are led by PIK’s chief-economist Ottmar Edenhofer.

IPCC scientist appointed professor - Read More…

 Clean technology can partially make up for weak CO2 pricing

Clean technology can partially make up for weak CO2 pricing

02/02/2015 - Clean technology support can to some extent make up for weak CO2 pricing and hence help keep the two degrees target within reach, a new study shows. Even if the world climate summit in Paris later this year is successful in striking a climate deal, it might not bring about sharp greenhouse-gas cuts in the near-term. However, emission targets could be strengthened by complementary policies, such as support for renewables, a ban on new coal-fired power plants, and an initially modest global minimum price on CO2. If such a policy package – each component of which has already been enacted in some countries – were to be put into practice globally now, this could also pave the way for a clean economy with faster long-term CO2 reductions after 2030.

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Beyond Lima: Looking ahead to Paris 2015

Beyond Lima: Looking ahead to Paris 2015

12/30/2014 - With the climate conference in Lima closed again after prolonged and tough negotiations, and the year 2014 closing on course to be one of the hottest on record, scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) are looking ahead to next year’s summits on the road to COP21 in Paris. “2015 will set the stage for the living conditions of our grandchildren – and their grandchildren, too,” news agency Agence France Press, Süddeutsche Zeitung and other media quoted Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, PIK's director.

Beyond Lima: Looking ahead to Paris 2015 - Read More…

Chair of the Green parliamentary group visits PIK

Chair of the Green parliamentary group visits PIK

12/16/2014 – The chair of the Green parliamentary group in the German parliament, Anton Hofreiter, was briefed on the latest research results by leading climate scientists. During his visit at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research he discussed topics like the energy transition in Germany, the European Emissions Trading System, and carbon pricing with chief-economist Ottmar Edenhofer and with the head of the PIK research group Energy Strategies for Europe and Germany, Brigitte Knopf. Hofreiter also met with PIK director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber to talk about the scientific background of the two degrees limit for global warming, tipping elements in the climate system, and the increasing risks of unabated global warming.

Chair of the Green parliamentary group visits PIK - Read More…

UN Climate Conference COP20: The challenges of climate change and poverty

UN Climate Conference COP20: The challenges of climate change and poverty

12/05/2014 - Delegates from more than 190 nations are gathering in Peru these days for the UN Climate Conference COP20. Among the conference participants are also scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, namely Chief-Economist Ottmar Edenhofer who is also a leading scientist in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Already in November, he spoke at the joint briefing by the Federal Foreign Office and the German Climate Consortium. Researchers of PIK, with their expertise in earth system changes and in solutions for the climate challenge, were frequently interviewed in the run-up to the summit.

UN Climate Conference COP20: The challenges of climate change and poverty - Read More…

“Climate change mitigation doesn't cost the earth”: IPCC author Edenhofer

“Climate change mitigation doesn't cost the earth”: IPCC author Edenhofer

11/02/2014 - The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) completed its Fifth Assessment Report on Sunday in Copenhagen. Ottmar Edenhofer, Co-Chair of the IPCC Working Group III ‘Mitigation of Climate Change’, and one of the authors of the now released Synthesis Report, points to the contrast between the potentially irreversible impacts of unmitigated climate change and the manageable costs of ambitious mitigation.

“Climate change mitigation doesn't cost the earth”: IPCC author Edenhofer - Read More…

Mitigating climate change through fighting poverty

Mitigating climate change through fighting poverty

10/29/2014 - Progress in climate change mitigation hinges on the alleviation of poverty in developing countries. To this end, the international community should pursue a policy that prioritizes the global reduction of greenhouse gases just as much as the development objectives of poorer countries. This is the result of a study conducted by a team of scientists led by experts from the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

Mitigating climate change through fighting poverty - Read More…

Edenhofer presents reform concept for EU emissions trading scheme in Brussels

Edenhofer presents reform concept for EU emissions trading scheme in Brussels

09/29/2014 - The emissions trading scheme as the most important pillar of European climate policy is currently under great scrutiny, as permit prices have been low. Europe’s technical academies (Euro-CASE) just published a comprehensive reform concept that outlines pathways to advance the emissions trading scheme. Ottmar Edenhofer presented this report in Brussels, in personal meetings with Jos Delbeke, Director General for Climate Action of the European Commission, and Ivo Belet, rapporteur of the ETS reform for the European Parliament.

Edenhofer presents reform concept for EU emissions trading scheme in Brussels - Read More…

New numbers, new movement: from the UN Climate Summit to the Global Carbon Project

New numbers, new movement: from the UN Climate Summit to the Global Carbon Project

09/25/2014 - The UN climate summit this week in New York brought progress in an unexpected way. "Most of the politicians in the hall gave speeches of the same old conventional type – effusive formulation, minimalistic commitment," said Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who himself took part in the meeting of 120 heads of state. "But it took place against a novel background, generated on the streets of New York by more than 300,000 people. If the politicians don't pull from the front, civil society will just have to push. Last week we saw how climate protection is developing into a world citizens' movement."

New numbers, new movement: from the UN Climate Summit to the Global Carbon Project - Read More…

The cost of delay: White House report citing PIK research

The cost of delay: White House report citing PIK research

08/30/2014 - Delaying climate policy might enhance costs substantially. The US government in a major recent report makes this finding a central message, citing a number of studies led by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Mitigation costs increase, on average, by approximately 40 percent for each decade of delay, the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors states in the report. Inaction is likely to cause persistent economic damages, they argue – many billions of Dollars each year in the US alone.

The cost of delay: White House report citing PIK research - Read More…

Reforming emissions trading: Failure is not an option

Reforming emissions trading: Failure is not an option

07/30/2014 - Courageous steps are required to reform the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme, argues Ottmar Edenhofer from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in a comment piece now published in Nature Climate Change. The centerpiece of the European climate policy is currently under great scrutiny, as permit prices have been too low to incentivize a switch to low- or zero-emission alternatives. While some ideas to correct this already move in the right direction, only a broad approach embedding for instance a price corridor could restore the main pillar of climate policy in the EU, argues Edenhofer.

Reforming emissions trading: Failure is not an option - Read More…

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