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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...

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.

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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.

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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.

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„Scientific foundation for the Paris Agreement“: UNFCCC head Espinosa laudates climate economist Edenhofer

„Scientific foundation for the Paris Agreement“: UNFCCC head Espinosa laudates climate economist Edenhofer

07/05/2018 - In recognition of his outstanding contributions to tackling the climate challenge, Ottmar Edenhofer has been awarded with the Romano Guardini Prize of the Catholic Academy in Bavaria. As chief economist and designated Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) as well as Founding Director of the Mercator Research Institute for Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), Edenhofer has both advanced the science and served as a political advisor. The Prize has been handed over in Munich in a festive ceremony attended by more than 200 high-ranking guests from politics, science, business, and religion.

„Scientific foundation for the Paris Agreement“: UNFCCC head Espinosa laudates climate economist Edenhofer - Read More…

Clean power is not enough: More climate action in industry, transport and building sectors needed to meet Paris climate targets

Clean power is not enough: More climate action in industry, transport and building sectors needed to meet Paris climate targets

06/25/2018 - Coal power versus wind and solar energy – debates about the Paris climate targets often centre around electricity supply. Yet, even in a world of stringent climate policies and a clean power generation, the remaining use of fossil fuels in industry, transport and heating in buildings could still cause enough CO2 emissions to endanger the climate targets agreed on by the international community, an international team of researchers finds. Published in Nature Climate Change, their elaborate study is the first to focus specifically on the residual fossil fuel emissions from sectors that are not as easily decarbonized as power generation.

Clean power is not enough: More climate action in industry, transport and building sectors needed to meet Paris climate targets - 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…

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