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SPECIAL: Coal phase-out: Announcing CO2-pricing triggers divestment

Photo Schellnhuber presents 10 Must-Knows on Climate at COP23Putting the Paris climate agreement into practice will trigger opposed reactions by investors on the one hand and fossil fuel owners on the other hand. It has been feared that the anticipation of strong CO2 reduction policies might – a ‘green paradox’ – drive up these emissions: before the regulations kick in, fossil fuel owners might accelerate their resource extraction to maximize profits. Yet at the same time, investors might stop putting their money into coal power plants as they can expect their assets to become stranded. Now for the first time a study investigates both effects that to date have been discussed only separately. On balance, divestment beats the green paradox if substantial carbon pricing is credibly announced, a team of energy economists finds. Consequently, overall CO2 emissions would be effectively reduced. Read more...

Future Earth Summit in Berlin

Future Earth Summit in Berlin

02/01/2016 - Researchers from the natural sciences, humanities, social sciences and engineering came together in Berlin last week with stakeholders from policy, business and civil society at the “Future Earth Summit”. The second major conference of German sustainability research focused on topics like Earth system modeling and social macrodynamics or science and society and discussed international sustainability science in the light of the Paris agreement and other recent developments.

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Research Days: Potsdam post Paris

Research Days: Potsdam post Paris

01/28/2016 - All members of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research gathered this week to discuss current and future research – and the outcomes of COP21 in Paris. Every year, the so called Research Days are an opportunity to present the various scientific activities of the institute, and to debate the challenges ahead.

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Tracing observed climate impacts to greenhouse gas emissions

Tracing observed climate impacts to greenhouse gas emissions

01/28/2016 - Roughly two-thirds of observed climate change impacts related to atmospheric and ocean temperature over the past 40 years can be confidently attributed to human-generated greenhouse gas emissions, an international team of scientists found. For the impacts observed not just on regional but on continental scales, even three quarters are mainly due to our burning of burning fossil fuels. Evidence connecting changes in precipitation and their respective impacts to human influence is still weak, but is expected to grow.

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Leibniz President Kleiner visits PIK

Leibniz President Kleiner visits PIK

01/27/2016 - The president of Leibniz Association, Matthias Kleiner, visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) for an exchange on current projects and developments. Among other topics the focus of the meetings was also on research strategies. Kleiner met with PIK Director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber as well as with the Chairs of PIK’s four research domains.

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Record warm years almost certainly due to human-made climate change

Record warm years almost certainly due to human-made climate change

01/25/2016 - Recent record warm years are with extremely high likelihood caused by human-made climate change. Without greenhouse-gas emissions from burning coal and oil, the odds are vanishingly small that 13 out of the 15 warmest years ever measured would all have happened in the current, still young century. These odds are between 1 in 5000 and 1 in 170.000, a new study by an international team of scientists now shows. Including the data for 2015, which came in after the study was completed, makes the odds even slimmer.

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New top German IPCC scientist visits PIK

New top German IPCC scientist visits PIK

2016/01/25 - The newly elected top German scientist in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Hans-Otto Pörtner, visited the Potsdam Institute (PIK) this week for an intense exchange about challenges of the next climate science assessment report. It will be the sixth of its kind and due in 2022. Pörtner, a senior biologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, heads the part of the report assessing climate change impacts. This is a core research issue of PIK. What is more, for half a decade PIK’s chief economist was head of the IPCC’s working group on mitigation.

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US Ambassador discusses Paris Agreement in Potsdam

US Ambassador discusses Paris Agreement in Potsdam

01/14/2016 - The Ambassador of the United States to Germany, John B. Emerson, visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) this week to discuss the consequences of the recent UN summit in Paris. Following a meeting behind closed doors with PIK director John Schellnhuber, the high-ranking guest gave a talk to researchers and students. Both the Ambassador and the PIK director highlighted the urgency of achieving further progress towards effective climate stabilization.

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