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SPECIAL: Planet at risk of heading towards irreversible “Hothouse Earth” state

Planet at risk of heading towards irreversible “Hothouse Earth” stateKeeping global warming to within 1.5-2°C may be more difficult than previously assessed. An international team of scientists has published a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) showing that even if the carbon emission reductions called for in the Paris Agreement are met, there is a risk of the planet entering what the scientists call “Hothouse Earth” conditions. A “Hothouse Earth” climate will in the long term stabilize at a global average of 4-5°C higher than pre-industrial temperatures with sea level 10-60 m higher than today, the paper says. The authors conclude it is now urgent to greatly accelerate the transition towards an emission-free world economy. Read more...

Nice sunny days can grow into heat waves – and wildfires: summer weather is stalling

Nice sunny days can grow into heat waves – and wildfires: summer weather is stalling

20/08/2018 - Be it heavy downpours or super-hot spells, summer weather becomes more persistent in North America, Europe and parts of Asia. When those conditions stall for several days or weeks, they can turn into extremes: heatwaves resulting in droughts, health risks and wildfires; or relentless rainfall resulting in floods. A team of scientists now presents the first comprehensive review of research on summer weather stalling focusing on the influence of the disproportionally strong warming of the Arctic as caused by greenhouse-gas emissions from burning fossil fuels. Evidence is mounting, they show, that we likely meddle with circulation patterns high up in the sky. These are affecting, in turn, regional and local weather patterns – with sometimes disastrous effects on the ground. This has been the case with the 2016 wildfire in Canada, another team of scientists show in a second study.

Nice sunny days can grow into heat waves – and wildfires: summer weather is stalling - Read More…

Summer of extremes - PIK experts in the media

Summer of extremes - PIK experts in the media

07/26/2018 - Everybody seems to be talking about the weather these days, with extreme heat in Germany and Europe, forest fires in Sweden, Greece and California. From Japan to the Arctic - the Northern hemisphere is currently experiencing a heat wave and experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research (PIK) were interviewed by numerous media outlets for an assessment of the current situation in the light of climate change.

Summer of extremes - PIK experts in the media - Read More…

Alumni return to PIK: New award facilitates research visits

Alumni return to PIK: New award facilitates research visits

07/20/2018 - The Potsdam Institute is keen to keep in touch with its alumni in Germany and all over the world, and has therefore set up a dedicated Alumni programme. Facilitated by funding from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the programme includes a "PIK Alumni Return Award" intended to enable former PIK scientists to return for a brief research visit to Potsdam. The next alumni-returnee will be Veronika Stolbova, at present a postdoc at the ETH Zurich. She will visit the institute to further advance research with PIK colleagues and give a presentation of her current work.

Alumni return to PIK: New award facilitates research visits - Read More…

Flipping the switch: making use of carbon price dollars for health and education

Flipping the switch: making use of carbon price dollars for health and education

07/16/2018 - While health systems, clean water and education are a plain given in many parts of the world, millions of people still do not have sufficient access to these basic public goods. In fact, carbon prices could make substantial financial resources available for succeeding with the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations, a team of scientists now finds. At the same time, carbon pricing could be a central contribution to meet global climate targets and limit global warming to well below 2°C until the end of the century.

Flipping the switch: making use of carbon price dollars for health and education - Read More…

Potsdam experts in the German Coal Commission

Potsdam experts in the German Coal Commission

07/13/2018 - The coal commission established by Germany’s Federal Government is seeking input from, amongst others, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. This Friday, the chief economist and director designate of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Ottmar Edenhofer, gave a presentation in the panel. The focus was on the possibilities of a rapid reduction of greenhouse gases in the German energy system, to stabilize our climate. The acting Director and founder of PIK, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, is a full member of the 'Commission for Growth, Structural Change and Employment' – the official name of the committee –, and will be one of those to decide on its outcome at the end of the year.

Potsdam experts in the German Coal Commission - Read More…

New Report “The World in 2050”: Sustainable development experts meet in New York

New Report “The World in 2050”: Sustainable development experts meet in New York

07/10/2018 - From education and health to responsible consumption, a decarbonized energy-system, agriculture, sustainable cities and digitalization - six transformations are necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations, a new report by leading experts in the field finds. Published at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York this week, the new report prepared by The World in 2050 (TWI2050) initiative outlines the key points that are necessary to bring the world on target to a sustainable future. More than 60 authors and 20 organizations were involved in the report, among them Johan Rockström, current Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and designated Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), as well as PIK researchers Elmar Kriegler, Hermann Lotze-Campen and Alexander Popp.

New Report “The World in 2050”: Sustainable development experts meet in New York - Read More…

Heat wave in California and heavy rain in Japan

Heat wave in California and heavy rain in Japan

09/07/2018 - Currently, California is confronted with extreme heat while Japan is hit by heavy rain. Stefan Rahmstorf, Earth System Analysis research domain co-chair at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Professor at the University of Potsdam comments on the issue.

Heat wave in California and heavy rain in Japan - Read More…

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