You are here: Home News Press Releases

Press Releases

SPECIAL: Schellnhuber presents "10 Must-Knows on Climate" at COP23

Photo Schellnhuber presents 10 Must-Knows on Climate at COP2311/13/2017 - From accelerating sea-level rise and ocean acidification to increasing risks of extreme weather events and the "collision course" with Earth’s climatic tipping points - PIK director Schellnhuber presented "10 Must-Knows on Climate Change from Science" today at COP23 in Bonn, together with UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, Wendy Broadgate from Future Earth, and Johan Rockström from the Earth League. They addressed policymakers and the public to show that achieving the Paris Agreement is necessary and possible. "Some crucial climate-change facts tend to get lost in the noise of daily deliberations - even at an event such as the UN climate summit. So it is important to remind everyone of the very reason why ten thousands of people meet in Bonn: unprecedented risk to humanity due to global warming, as revealed by science", says PIK director Schellnhuber. Read more ...

Tiny ice losses at Antarctica’s fringes can accelerate ice loss far away

Tiny ice losses at Antarctica’s fringes can accelerate ice loss far away

12/12/2017 - A thinning of small areas of floating ice at Antarctica’s coast can accelerate the movement of ice grounded on rocks hundreds of kilometers away, a new study shows. It is known that the ice shelves surrounding the continent regulate the ice flow from the land into the ocean. So far it was assumed that the ice flow is most vulnerable to melting at the base near the grounding line where the ice flows from land into the sea and becomes afloat. Now scientists found that also melting near the fringes and in the midst of the ice shelves can have direct effects reaching very far inland. This could increase ice loss and hence sea-level rise.

Tiny ice losses at Antarctica’s fringes can accelerate ice loss far away - Read More…

Transformation to wind and solar could be achieved with low indirect greenhouse gas emissions

Transformation to wind and solar could be achieved with low indirect greenhouse gas emissions

12/08/2017 - Different low carbon technologies from wind or solar energy to fossil carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) differ greatly when it comes to indirect greenhouse gas emissions in their life cycle. This is the result of a comprehensive new study conducted by an international team of scientists that is now published in the journal Nature Energy. Unlike what some critics argue, the researchers not only found that wind and solar energy belong to the more favorable when it comes to life-cycle emissions. They also show that a full decarbonization of the global power sector by scaling up these technologies would induce only modest indirect greenhouse gas emissions – and hence not impede the transformation towards a climate-friendly power system.

Transformation to wind and solar could be achieved with low indirect greenhouse gas emissions - Read More…

Consumption is the bottleneck for sustainable development

Consumption is the bottleneck for sustainable development

12/01/2017 - From ending poverty to improving wellbeing, gender equality, cities' resilience or climate action - while synergies among most of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) foster progress in sustainable development, there are some key conflicts or bottlenecks that could hamper achieving the SDG objectives for 2030. This is the result of a new comprehensive analysis by a team of scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). According to the study, responsible consumption and production seems to be such a bottleneck, as data from the past shows.

Consumption is the bottleneck for sustainable development - Read More…

“Climate-Neutral Living in Berlin" kick-off: Reducing personal CO2 footprints in a living lab

“Climate-Neutral Living in Berlin" kick-off: Reducing personal CO2 footprints in a living lab

30/11/2017 - 100 households, 365 days: Starting this December, private households in the German capital will be testing what climate action means in everyday life in the project "Climate-Neutral Living in Berlin" (Klimaneutral Leben in Berlin - KliB). From families with children to partnerships, flat-sharing communities or singles - for one year, the voluntary housholds will document their personal carbon footprint and learn about ways to improve their own climate balance. They will be supported by experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The KliB living lab intends to show how climate protection can be implemented in our everyday life, where potential problems lie and what politicians could do to overcome them.

“Climate-Neutral Living in Berlin" kick-off: Reducing personal CO2 footprints in a living lab - Read More…

Cities can cut greenhouse gas emissions far beyond their urban borders

Cities can cut greenhouse gas emissions far beyond their urban borders

11/07/2017 - Greenhouse gas emissions caused by urban households’ purchases of goods and services from beyond city limits are much bigger than previously thought. These upstream emissions may occur anywhere in the world and are roughly equal in size to the total emissions originating from a city’s own territory, a new study shows. This is not bad news but in fact offers local policy-makers more leverage to tackle climate change, the authors argue in view of the UN climate summit COP23 that just started. They calculated the first internationally comparable greenhouse gas footprints for four cities from developed and developing countries: Berlin, New York, Mexico City, and Delhi. Contrary to common beliefs, not consumer goods like computers or sneakers that people buy are most relevant, but housing and transport – sectors that cities can substantially govern.

Cities can cut greenhouse gas emissions far beyond their urban borders - Read More…

“The Father of the 2 Degrees Limit”: Schellnhuber receives Blue Planet Prize

“The Father of the 2 Degrees Limit”: Schellnhuber receives Blue Planet Prize

10/19/2017 - The world’s most prestigious award for pioneers in environmental science was given to Hans Joachim Schellnhuber this week in Tokyo. He is Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), a member of the Leibniz Association. The Blue Planet Prize, coming along with 50 million yen, honors outstanding thinkers who help to meet challenges of planetary dimensions. It is awarded by the Asahi Glass Foundation and handed over in presence of Japan’s Imperial Prince and Princess. Schellnhuber received the prize for establishing a new field of science, Earth System Analysis, and introducing most influential concepts including the notion of tipping elements in the climate system. The second recipient is Gretchen Daily of Stanford University, USA, who was honored for her research about biodiversity and natural capital.

“The Father of the 2 Degrees Limit”: Schellnhuber receives Blue Planet Prize - Read More…

“We need you”: UN climate chief to Potsdam climate scientists

“We need you”: UN climate chief to Potsdam climate scientists

10/13/2017 - Hundreds of millions of people will be affected by climate change impacts and their implications for health or migration already within the next few decades, sectors that so far often get overlooked in this context. This is one of the insights of the Impacts World Conference organised by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany this week. About 500 scientists from 67 countries were gathering at the conference with the title “Counting the true costs of climate change” to push climate impact research to the next level by better integrating socio-economic factors. At the same time, the institute celebrated its 25th anniversary hosting this meeting of the global impacts research community, in the spirit of its mission followed for a quarter century: further advancing scientific progress and communicating insights to stakeholders.

“We need you”: UN climate chief to Potsdam climate scientists - Read More…

Counting the true costs of climate change: Impacts World Conference in Potsdam

Counting the true costs of climate change: Impacts World Conference in Potsdam

10/11/2017 - Destabilizing the climate can also destabilize societies. Global warming impacts cause substantial economic damages, hurts human health in many ways, influences the drivers of human migration, and it can jeopardize development for many of the world’s poor. To investigate effects in these four areas, close to 500 researchers will meet on 11-13 October in Potsdam, Germany. Counting the true costs of climate change – this is the conference title – is quite a challenge since the social costs in particular are sometimes hard to calculate and also come in terms of human suffering. It is as part of this conference that the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) will also celebrate its 25th anniversary, a quarter of a century of advancing insights into the interaction between humankind and the Earth System.

Counting the true costs of climate change: Impacts World Conference in Potsdam - Read More…

Formation of coal almost turned our planet into a snowball

Formation of coal almost turned our planet into a snowball

2017/10/10 - While burning coal today causes Earth to overheat, about 300 million years ago the formation of that same coal brought our planet close to global glaciation. For the first time, scientists show the massive effect in a study published in the renowned Proceedings of the US Academy of Sciences. When trees in vast forests died during a time called the Carboniferous and the Permian, the carbon dioxide (CO2) they took up from the atmosphere while growing got buried; the plants’ debris over time formed most of the coal that today is used as fossil fuel. Consequently, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere sank drastically and Earth cooled down to a degree it narrowly escaped what scientists call a ‘snowball state’.

Formation of coal almost turned our planet into a snowball - Read More…

Winter cold extremes linked to high-altitude polar vortex weakening

Winter cold extremes linked to high-altitude polar vortex weakening

09/22/2017 - When the strong winds that circle the Arctic slacken, cold polar air can escape and cause extreme winter chills in parts of the Northern hemisphere. A new study finds that these weak states have become more persistent over the past four decades and can be linked to cold winters in Russia and Europe. It is the first to show that changes in winds high up in the stratosphere substantially contributed to the observed winter cooling trend in northern Eurasia. While it is still a subject of research how the Arctic under climate change impacts the rest of the world, this study lends further support that a changing Arctic impacts the weather across large swaths of the Northern Hemisphere population centers.

Winter cold extremes linked to high-altitude polar vortex weakening - Read More…

Ending tax breaks after the diesel scandal

Ending tax breaks after the diesel scandal

09/19/2017 - In response to the diesel scandal, the diesel tax advantage should be completely abandoned within the European Union (EU). In Germany, for example, diesel would then be about 20 cents per liter more expensive at the pump. In return, however, this measure would allow Germany but also France to reduce the emissions of CO2 and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by about 10 percent over five years. This is because diesel drivers in particular are much more sensitive to fuel price changes than previously assumed: a price hike of 20 cents per liter would lower their overall consumption by an estimated 14 percent.

Ending tax breaks after the diesel scandal - Read More…

Electricity consumption in Europe will shift under climate change

Electricity consumption in Europe will shift under climate change

28.08.2017 - Rising temperatures due to greenhouse gas emissions will fundamentally change electricity consumption patterns in Europe. A team of scientists from Germany and the United States now analyzed what unchecked future warming means for Europe’s electricity demand: daily peak loads in Southern Europe will likely increase and overall consumption will shift from Northern Europe to the South. Further, the majority of countries will see a shift of temperature-driven annual peak demand from winter to summer by the end of this century. This would put additional strain on European power grids, the study now published in the renowned US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) suggests.

Electricity consumption in Europe will shift under climate change - Read More…

Unabated climate change would reverse the development gains in Asia: report

Unabated climate change would reverse the development gains in Asia: report

14/07/2017 - Unabated climate change would bring devastating consequences to countries in Asia and the Pacific, which could severely affect their future growth, reverse current development gains, and degrade quality of life, according to a report produced by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

Unabated climate change would reverse the development gains in Asia: report - Read More…

From dry to wet: Rainfall might abruptly increase in Africa’s Sahel

From dry to wet: Rainfall might abruptly increase in Africa’s Sahel

06/07/2017 - Climate change could turn one of Africa's driest regions into a very wet one by suddenly switching on a Monsoon circulation. For the first time, scientists find evidence in computer simulations for a possible abrupt change to heavy seasonal rainfall in the Sahel, a region that so far has been characterized by extreme dryness. They detect a self-amplifying mechanism which might kick-in beyond 1.5-2 degrees Celsius of global warming – which happens to be the limit for global temperature rise set in the Paris Climate Agreement. Although crossing this new tipping point is potentially beneficial, the change could be so big, it would be a major adaptation challenge for an already troubled region.

From dry to wet: Rainfall might abruptly increase in Africa’s Sahel - Read More…

Why Climate Policy matters for the G20 finance ministers’ agenda

Why Climate Policy matters for the G20 finance ministers’ agenda

06/30/2017 - In order to stay below the 2 °C guardrail set in the Paris Agreement, climate policy should be integrated with the G20 finance ministers’ agenda. Finance ministers should consider the merits of carbon pricing for sound fiscal policy and thereby stimulate investments in carbon-free infrastructure. “It is rational for G20 finance ministers to embrace climate policy, even if climate change is not their primary concern,” writes a team of authors led by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) in an article published in the new issue of the journal Nature Climate Change. In their article “Aligning climate policy with finance ministers’ G20 agenda”, Ottmar Edenhofer, Chief Economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Director of MCC, together with MCC Secretary General Brigitte Knopf and colleagues from other institutions argue that investments in fossil fuels have become more risky in the post-Paris world.

Why Climate Policy matters for the G20 finance ministers’ agenda - Read More…

Turning the Climate Tide by 2020

Turning the Climate Tide by 2020

06/28/2017 - The world needs high-speed climate action for an immediate bending-down of the global greenhouse-gas emissions curve, leading experts caution. Aggressive reduction of fossil-fuel usage is the key to averting devastating heat extremes and unmanageable sea level rise, the authors argue in a comment published in the renowned scientific journal Nature this week. In the run-up to the G20 summit of the planet’s leading economies, the article sets six milestones for a clean industrial revolution. This call for strong short-term measures complements the longer-term 'carbon law' approach introduced earlier this year by some of the current co-authors, including the Potsdam Institute’s Director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, in the equally eminent journal Science. Thus a full narrative of deep decarbonization emerges.

Turning the Climate Tide by 2020 - Read More…

Blue Planet Prize awarded to Potsdam climate scientist Schellnhuber

Blue Planet Prize awarded to Potsdam climate scientist Schellnhuber

06/14/2017 - The world's most important award for pioneers in sustainability research will be given to the Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. This has been announced today in Tokyo by the Asahi Glass Foundation. The Blue Planet Prize of 50 million Yen honours thinkers and doers for major contributions to solving global environmental problems. Schellnhuber receives the award for establishing the 2 degrees Celsius guardrail of global warming agreed by the governments of all countries at the UN climate summit in Paris. Furthermore, the physicist Schellnhuber shaped the science of Earth System Analysis and developed the most influential concept of tipping elements.

Blue Planet Prize awarded to Potsdam climate scientist Schellnhuber - Read More…

Fires, storms, insects: climate change increases risks for forests worldwide

Fires, storms, insects: climate change increases risks for forests worldwide

05/31/2017 - Droughts, fires and wind as well as insects and fungal attacks: all of them result in stress for the forests of the Earth – and they are all influenced by climate change. About a third of worldwide land surface is covered by forests, but knowledge about how disruptive factors that affect them interact with one another in the context of global climate change is still lacking, as these are often analyzed separately and on a local scale. Now for the first time, an international team of scientists has comprehensively examined possible climate impacts on disturbances in forests. The team did this on a basis of more than 600 research papers of the last 30 years. Published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change, their results show that increasing risks for forests have to be expected in the future.

Fires, storms, insects: climate change increases risks for forests worldwide - Read More…

Climate stabilization: Planting trees cannot replace cutting CO2 emissions

Climate stabilization: Planting trees cannot replace cutting CO2 emissions

05/18/2017 - Growing plants and then storing the CO2 they have taken up from the atmosphere is no viable option to counteract unmitigated emissions from fossil fuel burning, a new study shows. The plantations would need to be so large, they would eliminate most natural ecosystems or reduce food production if implemented as a late-regret option in the case of substantial failure to reduce emissions. However, growing biomass soon in well-selected places with increased irrigation or fertilization could support climate policies of rapid and strong emission cuts to achieve climate stabilization below 2 degrees Celsius.

Climate stabilization: Planting trees cannot replace cutting CO2 emissions - Read More…

Weather extremes and trade policies were main drivers of wheat price peaks

Weather extremes and trade policies were main drivers of wheat price peaks

04/28/2017 - Price peaks of wheat on the world market are mainly caused by production shocks such as induced for example by droughts, researchers found. These shocks get exacerbated by low storage levels as well as protective trade policies, the analysis of global data deriving from the US Department of Agriculture shows. In contrast to widespread assumptions, neither speculation across stock or commodity markets nor land-use for biofuel production were decisive for annual wheat price changes in the past four decades. This finding allows for better risk assessment. Soaring global crop prices in some years can contribute to local food crises, and climate change from burning fossil fuels and emitting greenhouse gases is increasing weather variability.

Weather extremes and trade policies were main drivers of wheat price peaks - Read More…

Document Actions

Contact PR

For further information please contact the PIK press office:
Phone: +49 331 288 25 07
E-mail: press@pik-potsdam.de

RSS

Would you like to receive our press releases by e-mail?
E-Mail Subscribe to the free PIK Press Release List

Would you like to subscribe to our rss feed?
RSS Feed rss feed