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SPECIAL: Coal exit benefits outweigh its costs

Phasing out coal yields global net saving effect: Lignite-fired power plants in Germany. Photo: iStock. Coal combustion is not only the single most important source of CO2, accounting for more than a third of global emissions, but also a major contributor to detrimental effects on public health and biodiversity. Yet, globally phasing out coal remains one of the hardest political nuts to crack. New computer simulations by an international team of researchers are now providing robust economic arguments for why it is worth the effort: For once, their simulations show that the world cannot stay below the 2 degrees limit if we continue to burn coal. Second, the benefits of phasing out coal clearly outweigh the costs. Third, those benefits occur mostly locally and short-term, which make them useful for policy makers. Read more...

Tipping mechanisms could spark profound societal change towards climate stabilization: new study

Tipping mechanisms could spark profound societal change towards climate stabilization: new study

21/01/2020 - Limiting global warming to well below 2°C requires a decarbonized world by 2050 at the latest and a corresponding global transformation of the energy and land use systems of societies across the world. To achieve this goal of net-zero carbon by 2050 emissions need to be cut by half every decade from now on. An interdisciplinary team of researchers now explored tipping mechanisms that have the potential to spark rapid yet constructive societal changes towards climate stabilization and overall sustainability. These tipping elements and mechanisms could bring about a transition that is fast enough for meeting the targets of the Paris climate agreement. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) the scientists identify six socio-economic tipping elements and related interventions that could bring such a transition to a deep and rapid global decarbonization on its way.

Tipping mechanisms could spark profound societal change towards climate stabilization: new study - Read More…

 Feeding the world without wrecking the planet is possible

Feeding the world without wrecking the planet is possible

20/01/2020 - Almost half of current food production is harmful to our planet – causing biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation and water stress. But as world population continues to grow, can that last? A study led by researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) now suggests a comprehensive solution package for feeding 10 billion people within our planet’s environmental boundaries. Supplying a sufficient and healthy diet for every person whilst keeping our biosphere largely intact will require no less than a technological and socio-cultural U-turn. It includes adopting radically different ways of farming, reduction of food waste, and dietary changes. The study's publication coincides with the World Economic Forum in Davos and the International Green Week in Berlin, the world's biggest food and agriculture fair.

Feeding the world without wrecking the planet is possible - 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…

Australian bush fires: "What is happening in the southeast of Australia right now is breaking all records"

Australian bush fires: "What is happening in the southeast of Australia right now is breaking all records"

10/01/2020 - Australia is burning. In a statement, Kirsten Thonicke, expert for fire ecology and forests at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), explains the causes and how the devastating fires are related to man-made climate change.

Australian bush fires: "What is happening in the southeast of Australia right now is breaking all records" - Read More…

Johan Rockström receives Honorary Doctorate of the University of Amsterdam

Johan Rockström receives Honorary Doctorate of the University of Amsterdam

09.01.2020 - Johan Rockström received the honorary doctorate of the University of Amsterdam. Presented during the celebration of the the 388th birthday of the University of Amsterdam at the annual "Dies Natalis" event, the honorary doctorate was bestowed to Rockström for his pioneering scientific contributions in the area of global sustainability, and for his research into planetary boundaries in particular.

Johan Rockström receives Honorary Doctorate of the University of Amsterdam - Read More…

New approach in El Niño forecasting potentially doubles the lead-time and helps forecasting its magnitude

New approach in El Niño forecasting potentially doubles the lead-time and helps forecasting its magnitude

06.01.2020 - El Niño, probably the most far-ranging climate phenomena on Earth, is likely to hit again in 2020, as groundbreaking research by PIK and others has shown. Now, PIK researchers also found a new way to improve forecasts regarding its magnitude using data from air and sea surface temperature series.

New approach in El Niño forecasting potentially doubles the lead-time and helps forecasting its magnitude - Read More…

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