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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...

2°C or 1,5°C: Why half a degree matters

2°C or 1,5°C: Why half a degree matters

27.04.2016 - Climate change impacts differ substantially for the two temperature limits included in the Paris agreement, a team of European researchers found. Published in the journal Earth System Dynamics, the analysis considers 11 different indicators including extreme weather events, water availability, crop yields, coral reef degradation and sea-level rise for a global warming of 1,5°C and 2°C by the end of the century. The additional half degree would mean a 10-cm-higher global sea-level rise by 2100, longer heat waves, and would result in virtually all tropical coral reefs being at risk, the researchers found.

2°C or 1,5°C: Why half a degree matters - Read More…

Schellnhuber honoured with the Enercity Energy Efficiency Prize

Schellnhuber honoured with the Enercity Energy Efficiency Prize

04/28/2016 - Hans Joachim Schellnhuber is honoured with the Enercity Energy Efficiency Prize for North Germany for his outstanding scientific achievements. The award of the Public Utilities Hannover highlights pioneering projects and activities that foster a responsible dealing with energy. The laureates in three categories are being chosen by a twelve-person jury from the energy sector, science and business. The Mayor of Hannover, Stefan Schostok, handed the prize to Schellnhuber, director of the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in appreciation of his lifework.

Schellnhuber honoured with the Enercity Energy Efficiency Prize - Read More…

"Humanity on the move": Scientific Advisory Board hands report to German Government

"Humanity on the move": Scientific Advisory Board hands report to German Government

04/25/2016 - More than 2-3 billion people worldwide will move from the country to the cities within the next few decades, doubling the population of the world's slums. It will be the biggest migration of our time. The power of this urbanization surge will be the key driver of global change in the 21st century, reveals the report 'Humanity on the move – Unlocking the transformative power of cities'. It is handed to the German government today by the Advisory Council on Global Change (Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen, WBGU), co-chaired by Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Cities are responsible for a disproportionately high percentage of greenhouse-gas emissions – more than two thirds globally. At the same time, they are particularly hard hit by the consequences of global warming. Instead of ever greater densification, therefore, urban development should focus its attention more on the surrounding regions. Developing multiple medium-sized centres instead of a few rampantly expanding megacities increases humankind's resistance to crises and takes the pressure off local resources such as water and land.

"Humanity on the move": Scientific Advisory Board hands report to German Government - Read More…

Indian monsoon: novel approach allows early forecasting

Indian monsoon: novel approach allows early forecasting

04/20/2016 - The Indian monsoon’s yearly onset and withdrawal can now be forecasted significantly earlier than previously possible. A team of scientists developed a novel prediction method based on a network analysis of regional weather data, and will propose this approach to the Indian Meteorological Department. The heavy summer rains are of vital importance for millions of farmers feeding the subcontinent’s population. Future climate change will likely affect monsoon stability and hence makes accurate forecasting even more relevant.

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"Below 2 degrees": Edenhofer in book on Paris Agreement

"Below 2 degrees": Edenhofer in book on Paris Agreement

04/18/2016 - National minimum prices for CO2 emissions combined with international climate finance could be a way to put the Paris Agreement into practice. This is a key message from Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Director of the Mercator Institute for Global Commons and Climate Change, in his contribution to the book "Below two degrees". The Anthology is assembling quite a number of prominent voices: from the President of the German Environment Agency to Members of Parliament, from NGO heads to the Director of the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel. This week, the new publication will be presented by the German Federal Environmental Foundation along with the Federal Environment Ministry's Secretary of State Jochen Flasbarth, who's also a co-author.

"Below 2 degrees": Edenhofer in book on Paris Agreement - Read More…

Record Balkan floods linked to jamming of giant airstreams

Record Balkan floods linked to jamming of giant airstreams

04/15/2016 - Disastrous floods in the Balkans two years ago are likely linked to the temporary slowdown of giant airstreams, scientists found. These wind patterns, circling the globe in the form of huge waves between the Equator and the North Pole, normally move eastwards, but practically stopped for several days then – at the same time, a weather system got stuck over Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia that poured out record amounts of rain. The study adds evidence that so-called planetary wave resonance is a key mechanism for causing extreme weather events in summer. Further, the scientists showed that extreme rainfall events are strongly increasing in the Balkans, even more than the globally observed rise.

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Japanese Ambassador visits Telegraphenberg

Japanese Ambassador visits Telegraphenberg

04/14/2016 - The Japanese Ambassador to Germany, his Excellency Takeshi Yagi, visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research to exchange some ideas with PIK director John Schellnhuber and learn about the latest research on climate change.

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