News

Johan Rockström
 
News

PIK director Johan Rockström elected to German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

08/28/2020 - Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and internationally recognized scientist on global sustainability issues, was elected member of the Leopoldina in the Geosciences section. The Leopoldina provides policymakers and the public with science-based advice; its members already include PIK Director Ottmar Edenhofer and Director Emeritus Hans Joachim Schellnhuber.
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

Bettina Hörstrup appointed as Administrative Director

06/17/2020 - The new position of Administrative Director at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) will be filled by Bettina Hörstrup. A lawyer by training, she is currently Head of Human Resources and deputy of the Administrative Board at Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum, a Helmholtz Centre. She starts at PIK in August. Her appointment completes the new leadership of the Potsdam Institute that has been established with Johan Rockström and Ottmar Edenhofer as Directors in 2018/19.
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

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.
Read More

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.
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

From forests to peatlands: once lost, ecosystem carbon stores might not be recoverable in time

01/04/2020 - Huge amounts of carbon are stored in ecosystems like peatlands, mangroves, old-growth forests and marshes, which play a crucial role for our Earth system. Once released due to land use changes like the conversion to agriculture, this carbon could be not be recoverable within time to avoid global warming beyond 1,5 degrees Celsius, a new study led by Conservation International shows. Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, is one of the authors. These land areas should be particularly protected, the researchers argue in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Read More

Corona crisis: PIK switches to home office

13.03.2020 - To help containing the Corona epidemic, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research introduces mandatory home office work for all employees except those whose work cannot be done by remote access. All events and meetings are cancelled and no business trips are allowed. This is not an easy step, said PIK's Directors Ottmar Edenhofer and Johan Rockström. "Yet precaution is the overall guiding principle," the Directors highlight in a message to the whole staff.
Read More

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.
Read More

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.
Read More

Rockström as one Voice of Science at Davos World Economic Forum

21/01/2020 – After a year of climate change making headlines, the global leaders’ meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, too, has climate change written in large letters on its programme. Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research is one of the scientists present to make the voice of science heard.
Read More

Tipping mechanisms could spark profound societal change towards climate stabilization: new study

21/01/2020 - Limiting global warming to well below 2°C requires a decarbonized world by 2050 at the latest and a corresponding global transformation of the energy and land use systems of societies across the world. To achieve this goal of net-zero carbon by 2050 emissions need to be cut by half every decade from now on. An interdisciplinary team of researchers now explored tipping mechanisms that have the potential to spark rapid yet constructive societal changes towards climate stabilization and overall sustainability. These tipping elements and mechanisms could bring about a transition that is fast enough for meeting the targets of the Paris climate agreement. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) the scientists identify six socio-economic tipping elements and related interventions that could bring such a transition to a deep and rapid global decarbonization on its way.
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

Nature Magazine Editorial: Research decade must focus on climate

13/01/2020 - Helping to limit anthropogenic global warming should be a prime task of science in the 2020s. “The coming decade must focus on climate change”, states a recent editorial of the world-leading scientific journal Nature. The 2010s saw breakthroughs in artificial intelligence via deep-learning technologies, in life sciences through the reprogramming of mature cells into stem cells, in physics with gravitational-wave detection and progress on quantum computing. While this was remarkable, the editors proclaim that “with new knowledge, and a renewed dedication to social and environmental responsibility, the 2020s must be transformational”.
Read More

Johan Rockström receives Honorary Doctorate of the University of Amsterdam

09.01.2020 - Johan Rockström received the honorary doctorate of the University of Amsterdam. Presented during the celebration of the the 388th birthday of the University of Amsterdam at the annual "Dies Natalis" event, the honorary doctorate was bestowed to Rockström for his pioneering scientific contributions in the area of global sustainability, and for his research into planetary boundaries in particular.
Read More

PIK research among the top 20 most-discussed papers worldwide in 2019, according to Altmetric

17/12/2019 - The EAT Lancet report by PIK director Johan Rockström and others was published in January 2019 in the medical journal The Lancet. Lighting up paths to feeding a world population of 10 billion people while respecting our planet’s boundaries and our health has earned the paper an enormous amount of online attention and debate, ranking on place 18 of the 100 biggest science stories of 2019.
Read More

Planetary boundaries: Interactions in the Earth system amplify human impacts

16/12/2019 - What we do to one part of our Earth system does not just add to what we do to other parts – transgressing one planetary boundary can amplify human impacts on another one. For the first time, an international team of scientists now quantified some of the planetary-scale interactions in the Earth system. These biophysical interactions have in fact almost doubled direct human impacts on the nine planetary boundaries, from climate change to freshwater use. This insight can now be applied in policy design for safeguarding the livelihoods of generations to come.
Read More

COP25 climate summit: "weak outcome"

15.12.2019 - This weekend, the world climate summit COP25 in Madrid ran overtime to come to much debated decisions. Together, the two Directors of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research issued a statement to comment on the outcome. "This is a minimum compromise," says Earth system scientist Johan Rockström. Climate economist Ottmar Edenhofer adds: "The weak outcome of COP25 is sad but no surprise. It highlights that the next world climate summit in Glasgow really needs to be the turning point it is scheduled to be in the 2015 Paris Agreement timetable."
Read More

COP25: Johan Rockström speaks at High Level Event on Climate Emergency

11.12.2019 - Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, addressed the plenary of delegates of COP 25 in Madrid during a High Level Event on Climate Emergency. In his opening remarks he gave an "update from science", stressing that "the red thread in science over the past 20 years, is that we have underestimated the pace of change and the risks we are facing."
Read More

COP25: PIK experts in Madrid

02.12.2019 - "Time for Action": About 25,000 delegates from all over the world are expected to attend the UN Climate Conference COP25 from December 2-13 in Madrid, Spain. "We stand at a critical juncture in our collective efforts to limit dangerous global heating", UN General Secretary António Guterres said at the Opening Ceremony of COP25 in the Spanish Capital. "Millions throughout the world – especially young people – are calling on leaders from all sectors to do more, much more, to address the climate emergency we face. They know we need to get on the right path today, not tomorrow. That means important decisions must be made now," he stressed in his remarks.
Read More

Ten PIK researchers among the most influential scientists worldwide: ranking

29.11.2019 - According to a new Clarivate ranking, ten scientists from all research areas of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) are among the most cited researchers worldwide. This places them among the most influential scientists in the world, and their studies rank among the top 1% of scientific literature. Whether natural or social sciences, PIK is among the most renowned research institutions in Germany and worldwide, as the recently published ranking shows.
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

From Berlin to New York: United in Science

23/09/2019 - Millions of people all around the globe crowded the streets last Friday, demanding rapid action from policy makers to counter climate risks. The Fridays for Future movement calls upon humanity to "unite behind the science". That very same day, the German government adopted a climate policy package relying on carbon pricing expertise provided by PIK Director Ottmar Edenhofer and colleagues. Yet, the policy package is too weak to meet the climate targets, the expert says. Currently, heads of state are meeting at the UN climate summit – German Chancellor Angela Merkel is one of them. Again, science provides the facts needed for sound decisions. Among other input, PIK Director Johan Rockström presented an "Exponential Roadmap" to sustainability in New York with colleagues. Climate stabilization is both necessary and possible, the science shows.
Read More

Johan Rockström Chairs Newly Launched Earth Commission

19/09/2019 - The initiative of 20 globally renowned scientists on Earth Systems sets out to identify the concrete risks climate change brings for cities and firms. They aim to delineate the exact scientific borders of what our Planet can bear in terms of human-made climatic changes. Specifically, the commission will elaborate concrete tangible targets for cities and firms, thus scientifically underpinning tailored Goals for Land, Water, Oceans, and Biodiversity.
Read More

Earth League scientists back global climate protests

18/09/2019 - Humanity is tipping the scales of the world, eminent Earth League scientists say in a joint statement. They throw their weight into the balance to support global climate action culminating in this Friday's demonstrations and the UN climate summit next week. The future of life-support systems on Earth is determined by a dual tipping - for better or worse. Either a social tipping towards sustainability happens quickly, or all too soon a tipping of critical parts in the Earth System may threaten the stability of life on our planet. The scientists call upon everyone to demand that political and economic decision makers ensure we do not leave our children to an insecure future.
Read More

Six Transformations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

26/08/2019 - The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change call for deep transformations that require complementary actions by governments, civil society, science, and business. While significant progress is being made on some goals, no country is currently on track towards achieving all SDGs. PIK Director Johan Rockström contributed to a paper published now in Nature Sustainability, outlining six major transformations that will be required to achieve these ambitious goals. Led by the United Nations Sustainable Development Network (UNSDSN), the research will be an input to the upcoming United Nations General Assembly Climate Summit on September 23 and 24 in New York City. Rockström will be a speaker at a number of events.
Read More