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SPECIAL: Climate disasters increase risk of armed conflict in multi-ethnic countries

Photo A child holds up bulletsClimate 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. Read more...

Extreme events and planetary waves: new index approach

Extreme events and planetary waves: new index approach

09/22/2016 - Both heat waves like 2010 in Russia or cold spells like 2014 in the US have a common feature – they appeared together with certain patterns of gigantic airstreams in the atmosphere. This so called jetstream circles around the globe in waves swinging up and down between the Tropics and the Arctic. These large meandering planetary waves can have huge impacts – the economic damages of the 2014 cold spell at the US east coast with record-breaking cold temperatures for instance were estimated up to 5 billion Dollars.

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Climate impacts on amphibians and reptiles

Climate impacts on amphibians and reptiles

09/07/2016 - How does climate change affect amphibians and reptiles – animals whose body temperature depends directly on ambient temperature? A team of international scientists, involving the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and WWF Germany, analyzed the peer reviewed literature on the subject of the past ten years – their findings were now published in Royal Society Open Science.

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Edenhofer ranked amongst Germany’s top economists

Edenhofer ranked amongst Germany’s top economists

09/06/2016 - In a ranking of Germany’s “most influential economists”, Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, was placed amongst the top researchers in the field. The grouping published by the renowned daily ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’ (FAZ) is based on data on the scientific, political and media impact of the individual researchers. Edenhofer, who also directs the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change and is a Professor at Technische Universität Berlin, is the only economist with a focus on climate who scored this high in the ranking.

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German industry and climate experts: G20 should push CO2 pricing

German industry and climate experts: G20 should push CO2 pricing

09/02/2016 - An unusual alliance of business, science and an environmental organization is urging the major economies meeting as G20 this weekend in Hanghzou, China, to push CO2 pricing. The Federation of German Industries (BDI), Germanwatch and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) led by Ottmar Edenhofer - chief economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research - published a joint proposal in the german weekly ‘Die Zeit’. Pricing greenhouse-gas emissions from fossil fuels is key to achieve the climate stabilization goals set forth in the Paris Agreement, the authors argue. It should both set incentives for CO2 reductions and create more predictability for planning, the authors argue. In the same time, the instrument could raise much-needed revenues for infrastructure investments. The initiative comes ahead of the announcement of the agenda of Germany’s G20 Presidency to commence in December.

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Amazon forests: Biodiversity can help mitigate climate risks

Amazon forests: Biodiversity can help mitigate climate risks

29/08/2016 - A forest with greater diversity of plants can better adjust to climatic stress. Now for the first time, a team of scientists can show this in computer simulations of the Amazon region by accounting for its amazing diversity of trees. Biodiversity can hence be an effective means to mitigate climate risks and should not only be seen in the context of nature conservation.

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Dealing with Climate Change Impacts – the Potsdam Summer School starts with young talents from all over the world

Dealing with Climate Change Impacts – the Potsdam Summer School starts with young talents from all over the world

From global sea level rise to extreme events like floods or droughts – even with ambitious climate mitigation, some impacts of climate change will be felt within this century. How to avoid the unmanageable and manage the unavoidable will be the focus of the Potsdam Summer School from September 5-14, bringing together more than 40 early-career scientists and young professionals from all around the globe.

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Climate change: Trade liberalization could buffer economic losses in agriculture

Climate change: Trade liberalization could buffer economic losses in agriculture

08/25/2016 - Global warming could create substantial economic damage in agriculture, a new study conducted by a team of scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) finds. Around the globe, climate change threatens agricultural productivity, forcing up food prices. While financial gains and losses differ between consumers and producers across the regions, bottom line is that consumers in general will likely have to pay more for the same basket of food. As the additional expenditure for consumers outweighs producers’ gains, increasing net economic losses will occur in the agriculture and food sector towards the end of the century. However, economic losses could be limited to 0.3 percent of global GDP – depending on agricultural trade policies.

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