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SPECIAL: Coal exit benefits outweigh its costs

Phasing out coal yields global net saving effect: Lignite-fired power plants in Germany. Photo: iStock. 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...

Caring for the future is key for cooperation to prevent climate collapse: study

Caring for the future is key for cooperation to prevent climate collapse: study

20/05/2020 - How much decision-makers care about the future and not just the present is one key factor for whether or not they take action to stabilize our climate. Another one is how severe they assume the impacts of climate collapse to be. However, the number of actors is decisive – for instance the number of relevant countries, since efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have to be international to add up to the amount needed to prevent a crisis. This is shown by a novel mathematical study. It finds a strong effect of diffusion of responsibility in scenarios with large numbers of actors. The study combines game theory and learning dynamics to explore which options for enhanced political cooperation should now urgently be studied empirically.

Caring for the future is key for cooperation to prevent climate collapse: study - Read More…

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

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.

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

Delayed monsoon onset in Central India: early warning forecast

Delayed monsoon onset in Central India: early warning forecast

12/05/2020 - Summer Monsoon in Central India will likely begin between 18th and 26 of June, according to the new early forecast developed at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Led by PIK expert Elena Surovyatkina, the Monsoon forecast method showed to be successful already four years in a row. With global warming the monsoon is changing, breaking well-established “rules” of the phenomenon and thus becoming more unpredictable. A raising demand for a new understanding of the Indian Monsoon in order to be better prepared makes long-term forecasting even more important.

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 Sea level could rise more than 1 metre by 2100 if emission targets are not met, reveals survey amongst 100 experts

Sea level could rise more than 1 metre by 2100 if emission targets are not met, reveals survey amongst 100 experts

08/05/2020 - Global mean sea-level rise could exceed 1 metres by 2100 and 5 metres by 2300 with unchecked emissions, a survey among 100 leading international experts finds. The risk assessment is based on the increasing body of knowledge of the systems involved – while the scientists highlight the remaining uncertainties, they say it is clear now that previous sea-level rise estimates have been too low. The study led by scientists of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) appears today in the Nature partner journal Climate and Atmospheric Science.

Sea level could rise more than 1 metre by 2100 if emission targets are not met, reveals survey amongst 100 experts - Read More…

Petersberg Dialogue: Merkel speech on climate "an important reassurance"

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.

Petersberg Dialogue: Merkel speech on climate "an important reassurance" - Read More…

Five years after the Paris Agreement: Large gap between promises and current implementation

Five years after the Paris Agreement: Large gap between promises and current implementation

29/04/2020 - Achieving the overall goals of the Paris Agreement will require a deep reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions, ideally by around 40%–50% by 2030. However, current national implementation of climate policies remains insufficient, yielding only around 5.5% reduction in emissions by 2030. The study was coordinated by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and Utrecht University in cooperation with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and was published in Nature Communications. The findings are a contribution to the global evaluation of the Paris Agreement, held during the next three years.

Five years after the Paris Agreement: Large gap between promises and current implementation - Read More…

G20 and climate: Edenhofer speaks at Global Solutions Summit

G20 and climate: Edenhofer speaks at Global Solutions Summit

23/04/2020 - To advance the coupling of economic and environmental prosperity, leading thinkers and doers assembled at this year's Global Solutions Summit. PIK Director Ottmar Edenhofer was invited to deliver a keynote on what the G20 – the world’s largest economies – can do to prepare the road towards the next global climate summit COP26. The focus was on how to ensure functioning global carbon markets. Gunnar Luderer, also from the Potsdam Institute, participated in a panel debate on a circular carbon economy – in fact mitigation options such as storing or re-using CO2 emissions, or using biomass and renewables based-fuels.

G20 and climate: Edenhofer speaks at Global Solutions Summit - Read More…

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