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SPECIAL: "Never before such a need for science” - to save our planet

Photo Pope Francis Pope Francis called upon scientists to protect the world from climate change and its impacts, such as poverty and conflict. The leader of 1.3 billion Catholics addressed the bi-annual assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. During this event Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, was formally introduced as a member of this most distinguished scientific body. He was already appointed by the pope in June 2015, previous to the presentation of the “green” encyclical Laudato Si in the Vatican, where Schellnhuber was speaking on behalf of the entire scientific community. Sustainability issues were at the heart of the recent assembly, which was attended by many Nobel Laureates and other eminent researchers. The Pontifical Academy has only 80 life-time members, who are chosen exclusively on the grounds of excellence and relevance, regardless of their faith or origin. Read more...

New cooperation agreement with the Netherlands - with royal blessings

New cooperation agreement with the Netherlands - with royal blessings

At a festive dinner with the Dutch king and queen, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, and Jérôme Dangerman of the Kiemt Foundation have sealed a cooperation agreement for future research on energy issues and decarbonisation. The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Lilianne Ploumen had invited a handpicked number of guests from politics and enterprises to the exclusive dinner in Leipzig, among them the prime minister of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich.

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Sharing insights, shaping the future: PIK Research Days

Sharing insights, shaping the future: PIK Research Days

2017/02/10 - 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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PIK ranked among top climate think tanks worldwide

PIK ranked among top climate think tanks worldwide

01/27/2017 The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) belongs to the top environmental think tanks worldwide, a new ranking shows. Only the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) has scored better in this category, according to the "Global Go To Think Tank Index Report 2016" that has just been published by the University of Pennsylvania. PIK improved its position from rank 7 last year and rank 8 in the year before. Altogether, the ranking considered more than 6000 institutions across the globe.

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"Transformation now": Earth League meets in Potsdam

"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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New US President a risk for climate policy

New US President a risk for climate policy

01/20/2017 - Today, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as 45th President of the United States. "His populism as a business model will not prove viable in the long term," comments Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), Professor at Technische Universität Berlin.

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Harvests in the US to suffer from climate change

Harvests in the US to suffer from climate change

01/19/2017 - Some of the most important crops risk substantial damage from rising temperatures. To better assess how climate change caused by human greenhouse gas emissions will likely impact wheat, maize and soybean, an international team of scientists now ran an unprecedentedly comprehensive set of computer simulations of US crop yields. The simulations were shown to reproduce the observed strong reduction in past crop yields induced by high temperatures, thereby confirming that they capture one main mechanism for future projections. Importantly, the scientists find that increased irrigation can help to reduce the negative effects of global warming on crops – but this is possible only in regions where sufficient water is available. Eventually limiting global warming is needed to keep crop losses in check.

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How the darkness and the cold killed the dinosaurs

How the darkness and the cold killed the dinosaurs

2017/01/13 - 66 million years ago, the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs started the ascent of the mammals, ultimately resulting in humankind’s reign on Earth. Climate scientists now reconstructed how tiny droplets of sulfuric acid formed high up in the air after the well-known impact of a large asteroid and blocking the sunlight for several years, had a profound influence on life on Earth. Plants died, and death spread through the food web. Previous theories focused on the shorter-lived dust ejected by the impact. The new computer simulations show that the droplets resulted in long-lasting cooling, a likely contributor to the death of land-living dinosaurs. An additional kill mechanism might have been a vigorous mixing of the oceans, caused by the surface cooling, severely disturbing marine ecosystems.

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