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SPECIAL: Direct CO2 pricing gives room for additional voluntary emissions reductions

Foto: iStockMost climate economist agree that it makes sense to put a price tag on the emission of the most important greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, CO2. The discussion primarily revolves around whether it would be better to achieve this through a tax or emissions trading. Arguments include the administrative effort involved, the signal effect for investors, and the political enforceability. A new study based on a scientifically controlled experiment now sheds light on another aspect that has barely been researched so far: the incentive effect of both options on actors who want to act morally beyond their economic interests. The study was conducted by the economists Axel Ockenfels, Peter Werner and Ottmar Edenhofer, and has now been published in the renowned journal Nature Sustainability. Read more...

Homeschooling: Researchers support online learning with explanatory videos

Homeschooling: Researchers support online learning with explanatory videos

01/04/2020 - As schools are closed due to the corona crisis, the Potsdam Institute offers special online lectures for children and young people as a small contribution to learning at home. Explanatory videos conveying some basics about the climate are intended to provide inspiration for the many hours spent at the desk at home instead of in the classroom. The films are created by the scientists themselves - a little handout from the research team in home office to young viewers in home schooling.

Homeschooling: Researchers support online learning with explanatory videos - Read More…

From forests to peatlands: once lost, ecosystem carbon stores might not be recoverable in time

From forests to peatlands: once lost, ecosystem carbon stores might not be recoverable in time

01/04/2020 - Huge amounts of carbon are stored in ecosystems like peatlands, mangroves, old-growth forests and marshes, which play a crucial role for our Earth system. Once released due to land use changes like the conversion to agriculture, this carbon could be not be recoverable within time to avoid global warming beyond 1,5 degrees Celsius, a new study led by Conservation International shows. Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, is one of the authors. These land areas should be particularly protected, the researchers argue in the journal Nature Climate Change.

From forests to peatlands: once lost, ecosystem carbon stores might not be recoverable in time - Read More…

Regional nuclear war a risk for global food security

Regional nuclear war a risk for global food security

16/03/2020 - Even a limited nuclear war could have dangerous effects far beyond the region that is fatally hit. It would result in global cooling that substantially reduces agricultural production in the world’s main breadbasket regions, from the US, to Europe, Russia, and China. The particular effect on food security worldwide including trade responses has now for the first time been revealed by an international team of scientists in a study based on advanced computer simulations. The sudden temperature reduction would lead to a food system shock unprecedented in documented history. It would not undo long-term climate change from fossil fuels use, though – after about a decade of cooling, global warming would surge again.

Regional nuclear war a risk for global food security - Read More…

Corona crisis: PIK switches to home office

Corona crisis: PIK switches to home office

13.03.2020 - To help containing the Corona epidemic, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research introduces mandatory home office work for all employees except those whose work cannot be done by remote access. All events and meetings are cancelled and no business trips are allowed. This is not an easy step, said PIK's Directors Ottmar Edenhofer and Johan Rockström. "Yet precaution is the overall guiding principle," the Directors highlight in a message to the whole staff.

Corona crisis: PIK switches to home office - Read More…

Managing forests in the 21st century: Experts gather at PIK

Managing forests in the 21st century: Experts gather at PIK

06/03/2020 - Forests all over Europe feel the pressure from ongoing climate change, yet at the same time provide a wide range of resources to mitigate and to adapt to global warming. Smartly targeted management of forest is thus key, finds an international gathering of leading experts hosted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research this week. More than 100 scientists from institutions ranging from German National Park Berchtesgarden to US Oregon State University and Russian Higher School of Economics participated in three days of intense discussions and a field trip, more than 30 additional participants joined via videolink.

Managing forests in the 21st century: Experts gather at PIK - Read More…

The Climate Crisis and Churches' Options for Action: Ecumenical Learning Journey to PIK

The Climate Crisis and Churches' Options for Action: Ecumenical Learning Journey to PIK

05/03/2020 - 32 representatives from several churches took on a leaning journey about climate change and its consequences in Berlin and Potsdam. At the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Wolfgang Lucht shared some insights on Earth system research. The participants' conclusion: The church can play a major role in bridging the gap between knowledge and action and contribute to a different lifestyle through ecological spirituality.

The Climate Crisis and Churches' Options for Action: Ecumenical Learning Journey to PIK - Read More…

EU Commission draft climate law is "an important step" - yet comprehensive CO2 pricing is needed: Edenhofer

EU Commission draft climate law is "an important step" - yet comprehensive CO2 pricing is needed: Edenhofer

Today, the EU Commission proposed a draft climate law, containing regulation to implement parts of its Green Deal plan. On this issue, Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Professor for Climate Economics at Technische Universität Berlin, Germany, published a statement. Setting the right targets is not enough, he argues - "we need well-defined pathways and short-term entry points to reach them".

EU Commission draft climate law is "an important step" - yet comprehensive CO2 pricing is needed: Edenhofer - Read More…

Rockström speaks to Central Asian Ministers at German Foreign Office

Rockström speaks to Central Asian Ministers at German Foreign Office

29/02/2020 – Tackling climate change through increased regional cooperation – that is the goal of the “Green Central Asia Initiative” now launched by the German Federal Foreign office. It grounds on the conviction that climate protection and security are two sides of the same coin. PIK director Johan Rockström delivered the keynote speech on the vulnerability of Central Asia and namely Afghanistan to climate change, and the importance of science in deepening our understanding of it.

Rockström speaks to Central Asian Ministers at German Foreign Office - Read More…

Identifiying crises through network connections: Nature Physics publication

Identifiying crises through network connections: Nature Physics publication

27/02/2020 - From a Wuhan market to Europe and the US: A chain of infection enabled the spread of coronavirus. Trade and travel played the deciding role. Events that have been locally confined in the past are today damaging the global economy. When local networks become internationally connected, scientists call this percolation. An international team of researchers now developed a mathematical approach to better predict when percolation arises and disappears. Their findings have been published in the highly renowned journal Nature Physics this month.

Identifiying crises through network connections: Nature Physics publication - Read More…

Schellnhuber honoured with Japanese Order of the Rising Sun

Schellnhuber honoured with Japanese Order of the Rising Sun

27/02/2020 - In a most solemn ceremony hosted at the Embassy of Japan in Berlin, PIK Director Emeritus Hans Joachim Schellnhuber was honoured with the oldest national distinction of Japan. The highly distinguished "Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon" was awarded to him in the name of the Japanese Emperor by Japanese Ambassador His Excellency Takeshi Yagi for Schellnhuber's outstanding achievements in the field of climate science and the preservation of the environment. The famous award dates back to the Meiji Empire in the late 19th century - foreigners are awarded the Order only since the 1980s.

Schellnhuber honoured with Japanese Order of the Rising Sun - Read More…

Potsdam Climate Council: Fritz Reußwig appointed as expert

Potsdam Climate Council: Fritz Reußwig appointed as expert

25/02/2020 - PIK sociologist Fritz Reußwig has been appointed to the new Potsdam Climate Council. In the eight-member expert committee he will be in charge of the domain "private households and consumption" for the current term. As honorary body, the Potsdam Climate Council has the task of accompanying the implementation the city's climate mitigation master plan, identifying possible conflicts of objectives in the implementation and providing impulses in the social discourse towards more sustainability and climate protection.

Potsdam Climate Council: Fritz Reußwig appointed as expert - Read More…

Ricarda Winkelmann departs on “Expedition Anthropocene“ on Mount Chimborazo, Ecuador

Ricarda Winkelmann departs on “Expedition Anthropocene“ on Mount Chimborazo, Ecuador

24/02/2020 – Humans are the defining geological force shaping Earth in our current epoch that has been named the Anthropocene. Across disciplinary boundaries, six members of the 'Junge Akademie', the academy of prominent young scientists and artists from German speaking backgrounds, have departed on an expedition on tracing some of human’s impact onto the environment. 200 years after Alexander von Humboldt, they will climb the Ecuadorian volcano Chimborazo in search of humanity’s footprint in different altitudes and vegetation zones. Besides PIK’s Ricarda Winkelmann, a mathematician glaciologist, the scientists involved come from a great variety of disciplinary backgrounds: biology, chemistry, sound ecology, computer science, and medicine.

Ricarda Winkelmann departs on “Expedition Anthropocene“ on Mount Chimborazo, Ecuador - Read More…

Bundesbank experts discuss climate risks for finance

Bundesbank experts discuss climate risks for finance

13/02/2020 - Climate risks for finance were at the centre of a joint workshop at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) with experts from the German Bundesbank. Both the physical impacts of global warming, for instance weather extremes, and the economical impacts of transitioning to net zero CO2 emissions have huge implications. The experts and scientists discussed potential future collaborations, namely on data exchange and computer simulation modelling.

Bundesbank experts discuss climate risks for finance - Read More…

Focus on food to address climate change

Focus on food to address climate change

18/02/2020 - Bringing together agricultural production, supply chains, and consumption: In a comment published in the new journal Nature Food researchers discuss a new global food system approach to climate change research. When these activities are considered together, they represent 21 to 37 percent of total human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, the authors note. This new approach also enables a fuller assessment of the vulnerability of the global food system to increasing droughts, intensifying heatwaves, heavier downpours, and exacerbated coastal flooding. Food system responses thus play a major role in both adapting to and mitigating climate change, the authors assert.

Focus on food to address climate change - Read More…

Eurogroup Finance Ministers debate with Edenhofer

Eurogroup Finance Ministers debate with Edenhofer

17/02/2020 - The Eurogroup Finance Ministers invited climate economist Ottmar Edenhofer to speak at their Brussels meeting this Monday. They expect him to “bring a fresh perspective” based on his “important contributions to the research and public debate on the economics of the climate transition”. Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, will talk about environmental taxation that could help both climate stabilization and social equity.

Eurogroup Finance Ministers debate with Edenhofer - Read More…

PIK again among the world's best climate think tanks

PIK again among the world's best climate think tanks

31/01/2020 - For 2019, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) was again one of the most influential think tanks in the field of environmental policy. That is the result of this year's "Global Go To Think Tank Index Report" published by the University of Pennsylvania. The ranking includes more than 6,500 institutions worldwide.

PIK again among the world's best climate think tanks - Read More…

Edenhofer: Shutting down German power stations could have been achieved more cheaply

Edenhofer: Shutting down German power stations could have been achieved more cheaply

29.01.2020 - Today, about a year after the report of the so-called Commission, the German government passed the Kohleausstiegsgesetz (Coal Exit Law). Power generation from lignite and hard coal, accounting for 28 percent of gross electricity generation in 2019, shall be stopped by 2038. Lignite operators will receive 4.35 billion euros in compensation; further compensation to hard coal operators will be determined and distributed through auctions. In addition, coal regions will receive 40 billion euros in structural aid.

Edenhofer: Shutting down German power stations could have been achieved more cheaply - Read More…

Rockström as one Voice of Science at Davos World Economic Forum

Rockström as one Voice of Science at Davos World Economic Forum

21/01/2020 – After a year of climate change making headlines, the global leaders’ meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, too, has climate change written in large letters on its programme. Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research is one of the scientists present to make the voice of science heard.

Rockström as one Voice of Science at Davos World Economic Forum - Read More…

Climate change, food and agriculture: PIK expertise at International Green Week in Berlin

Climate change, food and agriculture: PIK expertise at International Green Week in Berlin

20/01/2020 - Hundreds of thousands of people are currently exploring the International Green Week in Berlin, a leading global trade fair for agriculture and food with featuring more than 1800 exhibitors from 72 countries. According to the organizers, the International Green Week 2020 is focusing on climate change like never before, with numerous exhibitions and events. This year's trend topics include sustainability, resource conservation and environmentally friendly production processes. Experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) will also be present at events at the Green Week from 17-26 January.

Climate change, food and agriculture: PIK expertise at International Green Week in Berlin - Read More…

Nature Magazine Editorial: Research decade must focus on climate

Nature Magazine Editorial: Research decade must focus on climate

13/01/2020 - Helping to limit anthropogenic global warming should be a prime task of science in the 2020s. “The coming decade must focus on climate change”, states a recent editorial of the world-leading scientific journal Nature. The 2010s saw breakthroughs in artificial intelligence via deep-learning technologies, in life sciences through the reprogramming of mature cells into stem cells, in physics with gravitational-wave detection and progress on quantum computing. While this was remarkable, the editors proclaim that “with new knowledge, and a renewed dedication to social and environmental responsibility, the 2020s must be transformational”.

Nature Magazine Editorial: Research decade must focus on climate - Read More…

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