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SPECIAL: What saved the West Antarctic Ice Sheet 10,000 years ago will not save it today

 Stronger evidence for a weaker Atlantic overturning
The retreat of the West Antarctic ice masses after the last Ice Age was reversed surprisingly about 10,000 years ago, scientists found. This is in stark contrast to previous assumptions. In fact, it was the shrinking itself that stopped the shrinking: relieved from the weight of the ice, the Earth crust lifted and triggered the re-advance of the ice sheet. However, this mechanism is much too slow to prevent dangerous sea-level rise caused by West Antarctica’s ice-loss in the present and near future. Only rapid greenhouse-gas emission reductions can. Read more...

Spacefood for cows: Industrial microbes could feed cattle, pigs and chicken with less damage to the environment

Spacefood for cows: Industrial microbes could feed cattle, pigs and chicken with less damage to the environment

06/20/2018 - Deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, nitrogen pollution – today’s agricultural feed cultivation for cattle, pigs and chicken comes with tremendous impacts for the environment and climate. Cultivating feed in industrial facilities instead of on croplands might help to alleviate the critical implications in the agricultural food supply chain. Protein-rich microbes, produced in large-scale industrial facilities, are likely to increasingly replace traditional crop-based feed. A new study now published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology for the first time estimates the economic and environmental potential of feeding microbial protein to pigs, cattle and chicken on a global scale. The researchers find that by replacing only 2 percent of livestock feed by protein-rich microbes, more than 5 percent of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, global cropland area and global nitrogen losses could each be decreased.

Spacefood for cows: Industrial microbes could feed cattle, pigs and chicken with less damage to the environment - Read More…

Mix it: Policy combination needed to achieve climate targets along with sustainable development goals

Mix it: Policy combination needed to achieve climate targets along with sustainable development goals

06/20/2018 - A broad combination of policies might be best suited to help achieve both climate stabilization targets as well as most of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These policies reach from straightforward CO2 pricing to regulation of water and forest protection, to lifestyle changes such as eating less meat, a new study shows. The scientists highlight the complex interplay between the different targets. A policy focused only on CO2 pricing would cost the least, they show, but would likely trigger substantial land-use changes.

Mix it: Policy combination needed to achieve climate targets along with sustainable development goals - Read More…

Better be safe than sorry: economic optimization risks tipping of important Earth system elements

Better be safe than sorry: economic optimization risks tipping of important Earth system elements

06/15/2018 - Optimizing economic welfare without constraints might put human well-being at risk, a new climate study argues. While being successful in bringing down costs of greenhouse gas reductions for instance, the concept of profit maximization alone does not suffice to avoid the tipping of critical elements in the Earth system which could lead to dramatic changes of our livelihood. The scientists use mathematical experiments to compare economic optimization to the governance concepts of sustainability and the more recent approach of a safe operating space for humanity. All of these turn out to have their benefits and deficits, yet the profit-maximizing approach shows the greatest likelihood of producing outcomes that harm people or the environment.

Better be safe than sorry: economic optimization risks tipping of important Earth system elements - Read More…

Long Night of Sciences in summer heat

Long Night of Sciences in summer heat

06/14/2018 – Despite of the stifling heat, almost 2000 interested people from Berlin and Brandenburg visited the Telegraph Hill in Potsdam for this year’s Long Night of Sciences and explored the various offers of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the hill’s other research institutes, instead of jumping into one of the nearby lakes for some swimming.

Long Night of Sciences in summer heat - Read More…

German Federal Government appoints Schellnhuber to coal commission

German Federal Government appoints Schellnhuber to coal commission

06/06/2018 - The German Federal Government appointed Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research to their coal commission. The high-ranking "commission for growth, structural change and employment" - so the official name - is supposed to present a strategy for coal until the end of this year. Fossil fuels are the cause for a significant part of greenhouse gas emissions in Germany and the world, and hence for climate risks. The composition of the expert panel had been in discussion for some time, it will be steered by no less than four ministries: Economic Affairs, Environment, Labour and Interior.

German Federal Government appoints Schellnhuber to coal commission - Read More…

Experts meet at Global Solutions Summit in Berlin

Experts meet at Global Solutions Summit in Berlin

06/05/2018 - More than 1100 policy thinkers and policy leaders from all around the world came together recently at the Global Solutions Summit in Berlin to discuss crucial topics for global governance in the context of the next G20 summits in Argentina and Japan. Official delegates from the T20 Argentina and the T20 Japan, Nobel Laureates and high level speakers like German Chancellor Angela Merkel participated in the Berlin Summit of think tanks, policy makers, business leaders and NGOs.

Experts meet at Global Solutions Summit in Berlin - Read More…

PIKturing our future: The young scientists’ visions for the institute

PIKturing our future: The young scientists’ visions for the institute

06/05/2018 - Once a year, the doctoral candidates of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) gather to discuss their research and exchange ideas. This year’s "PhD day" aimed at giving young scientists the possibility to think about and discuss their visions, wishes and ideas for the future of the institute. What do young scientists need to be able to perform excellent science? In what areas do they need more support and in what way? How can they interact with society during their work?

PIKturing our future: The young scientists’ visions for the institute - Read More…

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