Climate, science & the arts: Boysen's "Alice" in Nature Climate Change

03/16/2017 - The increasingly important connection between art and science is highlighted in March's Nature Climate Change edition. The book "Alice, the Zeta Cat and Climate Change" by Margret Boysen, Artistic Director at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), serves a prime example in the highly renowned journal's article. It stands for many efforts to make the climate debate part of culture, and culture part of the climate debate.
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Sharing insights, shaping the future: PIK Research Days

02/10/2017 - This week, all scientists and staff of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) gathered for their annual roadshow of scientific achievements and discussions of future projects. Packed with presentations and debates, PIK´s Research Days are an unequalled opportunity to share insights and shape the future course of the institute.
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"Transformation now": Earth League meets in Potsdam

01/23/2017 - Some of the most distinguished international climate experts are gathering in Potsdam this week for a symposium of the Earth League, a self-organized initiative of leading researchers on global change. During two days, they will discuss how the Great Transformation towards sustainability can be brought about. The success of the Paris climate agreement aiming at completely decarbonizing our economies within a few decades is by no means ensured; fulfilling its objectives requires a ratcheting-up of ambitions through social, political and economic progress.
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Scientific policy advise for G20

14/12/2016 – Germany has taken the presidency of the G20 in the beginning of December. Leading PIK-scientists support the Federal Government in this process on several levels. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), handed over a Special Report with concrete recommendations for action on a transformation together with the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). Last week at the kick-off of the so-called T20-process, the team of PIK’s chief economist Ottmar Edenhofer took the lead of the task force on climate policy.
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"An alliance is emerging": climate summit COP22 concludes

11/18/2016 - The UN climate summit COP22 in Morocco sent a signal of renewed confidence in the Paris climate agreement - despite the widespread concern that the USA under President Donald Trump might drop out of international climate policy. Leading scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact research most actively participated in the international meeting which concluded today. Countries including oil-exporting Saudia Arabia expressed the wish to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Almost 200 nations at two-week talks agreed a statement that the fight against climate change was an "urgent duty" and "irreversible".
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German government reappoints Schellnhuber to advisory council

11/10/2016 - The Federal Cabinet appointed the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) for its next term - five of the nine Council members have been reappointed, among them PIK director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber and Dirk Messner, Director of the German Development Institute (DIE). For new positions, four women were appointed. With this cast, the council will work for the German government until 2020.
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"The world has to move forward without the US"

11/09/2016 - Science cannot expect positive climate action from President-elect Donald Trump, says Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. "The world has now to move forward without the US on the road towards climate-risk mitigation and clean-technology innovation," he states.
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The Potsdam Institute at COP22 in Marrakech

11/09/2016 - Researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) are attending the current UN climate summit COP22 in Marrakesch from November 7 to 18. Amongst other events, PIK Director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber will speak at a side-event of the German Advisory Council on Global Change on the science-policy dialogue to reach Paris targets. PIK chief economist Ottmar Edenhofer will discuss the potential of the Paris Agreement in a side event with colleagues from Arizona State University, Harvard Kennedy School and others.
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Close exchange with Japan

07/11/2016 - During a visit to Japan, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber further deepened the collaboration between the country´s scientific and political experts and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). In July, PIK director Schellnhuber had visited Fukushima and held a keynote at the International Forum for Sustainable Asia and the Pacific (ISAP). This time he elaborated concrete scientific exchange and policy advice.
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Crash of seemingly stable social systems: new dynamics detected

09/30/2016 - From Facebook to international climate agreements like the Paris accord that is currently in the ratification process, the stability of complex social networks is still poorly understood. To better assess system crash likelihood, an international team of scientists now proposes a new mathematical system dynamics model. One key factor for system collapse is individual action based on local information, the study finds. When a member of the network - be it a person or a state - observes friends or allies to leave the system, it likely opts out as well. Small perturbations can hence have huge impacts.
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Climate disasters increase risk of armed conflict in multi-ethnic countries

07/26/2016 - Climate disasters like heat-waves or droughts enhance the risk of armed conflicts in countries with high ethnic diversity, scientists found. They used a novel statistical approach to analyze data from the past three decades. While each conflict is certainly the result of a complex and specific mix of factors, it turns out that the outbreak of violence in ethnically fractionalized countries is often linked to natural disasters that may fuel smoldering social tensions. This finding, to be published in the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences, can help in the design of security policies – even more so since future global warming from human-made greenhouse-gas emissions will increase natural disasters and therefore likely also risks of conflicts and migration.
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Friends of PIK: Simonis honoured, Stock nominated

28/07/2016 - The Society of Friends and Promoters of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has honoured its longstanding president Udo Simonis for his tremendous efforts and made him honorary chairman. Manfred Stock took over the lead of the society. The tribute took place during festive symposium on biodiversity, and the institute´s scientists applauded their old and new supporters of their work. The symposium was organized by the research domain Transdisciplinary Concepts & Methods.
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The Great Investment Turnaround: how to finance a sustainable world economy

07/20/2016 - Banks and insurers can play a crucial part in stabilizing the climate, while at the same time safeguarding their clients’ assets. Leading representatives of finance and climate research will discuss the best strategies for a turnaround in investing this Thursday in Berlin. The event is hosted by the Swiss global bank UBS, the French multinational insurance firm AXA, CDP, the European innovation initiative Climate-KIC, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Divestment – the diversion of capital from fossil fuel industries to green innovation and sustainable businesses – is a new approach to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, which could turn out to be a global “game changer”.
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PIK ranked among top climate think tanks worldwide

06/27/2016 - The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) belongs to the best climate think tanks worldwide, the new ICCG Climate Think Tank Ranking shows. The assessment by the International Center for Climate Governance analyzed 240 cutting-edge institutions working in the field of climate change economics and policy. Based on a solid quantitative methodology and analytical data, the ICCG lists non-university affiliated think tanks in an absolute and a standardized ranking - the latter based on an institute's output in relation to the number of its researchers. In both competitions, PIK ranks fourth best global climate think tank.
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Controlled implosion of fossil industries and explosive renewables development can deliver on Paris

06/23/2016 - While some criticize the Paris climate target as impracticable, a team of scholars argues that it is – on the contrary – a triumph of realism. First, and most importantly, adhering to the Paris target of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius is necessary in view of the massive risks that unchecked climate change would pose to society. A crucial type of threats, associated with the crossing of tipping points in the Earth system, is summarized in a landmark map for the first time. Second, implementing the Paris target is feasible through the controlled implosion of the fossil industry, instigated by a technological explosion related to renewable energy systems and other innovations. Third, the target is simple enough to create worldwide political momentum, the scientists say in their comment published in Nature Climate Change.
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Extreme weather events linked to stalling of planetary waves

06/11/2016 - Many extreme weather events in the Northern hemisphere have recently been accompanied by a stalling of huge airstreams high up in the atmosphere that normally circle our planet, taking the form of gigantic waves swinging up and down between the Tropics and the Arctic. Looking into the events of the summers three and four years ago, a new study by a team of scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research finds that in fact a majority of extremes go with observed disturbances of the so-called planetary waves, adding evidence to the assumption that this connection might be of key importance.
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Schellnhuber honoured with the Enercity Energy Efficiency Prize

04/28/2016 - Hans Joachim Schellnhuber is honoured with the Enercity Energy Efficiency Prize for North Germany for his outstanding scientific achievements. The award of the Public Utilities Hannover highlights pioneering projects and activities that foster a responsible dealing with energy. The laureates in three categories are being chosen by a twelve-person jury from the energy sector, science and business. The Mayor of Hannover, Stefan Schostok, handed the prize to Schellnhuber, director of the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in appreciation of his lifework.
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"Humanity on the move": Scientific Advisory Board hands report to German Government

04/25/2016 - More than 2-3 billion people worldwide will move from the country to the cities within the next few decades, doubling the population of the world's slums. It will be the biggest migration of our time. The power of this urbanization surge will be the key driver of global change in the 21st century, reveals the report 'Humanity on the move – Unlocking the transformative power of cities'. It is handed to the German government today by the Advisory Council on Global Change (Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen, WBGU), co-chaired by Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Cities are responsible for a disproportionately high percentage of greenhouse-gas emissions – more than two thirds globally. At the same time, they are particularly hard hit by the consequences of global warming. Instead of ever greater densification, therefore, urban development should focus its attention more on the surrounding regions. Developing multiple medium-sized centres instead of a few rampantly expanding megacities increases humankind's resistance to crises and takes the pressure off local resources such as water and land.
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"The closed society is the antithesis of science": Potsdam research institutions on the refugee issue

03/16/2016 - Potsdam's scientific institutions published an open letter for a tolerant society, rejecting all expressions of hatred, violence, and intolerance towards people on the basis of their origins, appearance, religion, or other grounds. They position themselves in the ongoing discussion about refugees in the state of Brandenburg, and in Germany.
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Leibniz President Kleiner visits PIK

01/27/2016 - The president of Leibniz Association, Matthias Kleiner, visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) for an exchange on current projects and developments. Among other topics the focus of the meetings was also on research strategies. Kleiner met with PIK Director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber as well as with the Chairs of PIK’s four research domains.
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New top German IPCC scientist visits PIK

2016/01/25 - The newly elected top German scientist in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Hans-Otto Pörtner, visited the Potsdam Institute (PIK) this week for an intense exchange about challenges of the next climate science assessment report. It will be the sixth of its kind and due in 2022. Pörtner, a senior biologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, heads the part of the report assessing climate change impacts. This is a core research issue of PIK. What is more, for half a decade PIK’s chief economist was head of the IPCC’s working group on mitigation.
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US Ambassador discusses Paris Agreement in Potsdam

01/14/2016 - The Ambassador of the United States to Germany, John B. Emerson, visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) this week to discuss the consequences of the recent UN summit in Paris. Following a meeting behind closed doors with PIK director John Schellnhuber, the high-ranking guest gave a talk to researchers and students. Both the Ambassador and the PIK director highlighted the urgency of achieving further progress towards effective climate stabilization.
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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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„Self-combustion“: Schellnhuber's view of the big picture

11/02/2015 - From the pioneer days in barracks to the Pope in the Vatican, from the first mathematical equations to cutting edge computer simulations – for three decades, the physicist and political advisor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber has been exploring climate change as a challenge for humanity. Account of the state of research, life story, eco-manifest: all this is his major upcoming book on the climate crisis. As the founder and director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), he authored hundreds of scientific papers and shaped ideas like the internationally-accepted two-degree limit. A few weeks prior to the UN Climate Summit in Paris, his book now addresses a wider public.
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Nobel Laureates together with Schellnhuber meet French President

12/07/2015 - More than 70 recipients of the Nobel Prize urgently warn of the consequences of climate change. They support a declaration that has been handed over to the President of France François Hollande at the Élysée Palace in Paris today by the Physics Nobel Laureates Serge Haroche and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, together with Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). “The nations of the world must take the opportunity at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris to take decisive action to limit future global emissions,” the Mainau Declaration on Climate Change states. It is an outcome of the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting on Mainau Island in Lake Constance, Germany, in July.
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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.
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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.
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Schellnhuber meets with President of Taiwan

09/17/2015 - Greenhouse gas reduction pathways to limit climate change risks have been the core topic of a meeting of the President of Taiwan Ying-jeou Ma with Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Ma received Schellnhuber for an official discussion this week before Taiwan published its intended contributions to global emissions reductions. Schellnhuber also gave a keynote address at a forum sponsored by Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration with Minister Kuo-yen Wei. Another highlight was a scientific symposium on deep decarbonization pathways organized by the Academia Sinica under the leadership of Nobel Laureate Yuan-Tseh Lee.
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CO2 removal cannot save the oceans – if we pursue business as usual

08/03/2015 - Greenhouse-gas emissions from human activities do not only cause rapid warming of the seas, but also ocean acidification at an unprecedented rate. Artificial carbon dioxide removal (CDR) from the atmosphere has been proposed to reduce both risks to marine life. A new study based on computer calculations now shows that this strategy would not work if applied too late. CDR cannot compensate for soaring business-as-usual emissions throughout the century and beyond, even if the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration would be restored to pre-industrial levels at some point in the future. This is due to the tremendous inertia of the ocean system. Thus, CDR cannot substitute timely emissions reductions, yet may play a role as a supporting actor in the climate drama.
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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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