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

“The Father of the 2 Degrees Limit”: Schellnhuber receives Blue Planet PrizeThe 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. Read more ...

Summer storm weakening leads to more persistent heat extremes

Summer storm weakening leads to more persistent heat extremes

03/12/2015 - Storm activity in large parts of the US, Europe and Russia significantly calmed down during summers over the past decades, but this is no good news. The weakening of strong winds associated with the jetstream and weather systems prolongs and hence intensifies heat extremes like the one in Russia in 2010 which caused devastating crop failures and wildfires. This is shown in a study to be published in the renowned journal Science by a team of researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. They link the findings to changes in the Arctic caused by man-made global warming.

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Climate change impacts across sectors: frontier science workshop

Climate change impacts across sectors: frontier science workshop

03/06/2015 – A global community of scientists that aim at bringing research on climate change impacts to a new level met in Austria this week. More than 130 institutes are now member of the unique Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP). The participants discussed insights from their thorough model evaluation, including hindcast. Comparing the model output with real processes in history provides crucial information about strengths and weaknesses of models, and how to make use of them. Moreover, pathways to a longer-term coordinated impact assessment effort have been discussed.

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US Government Accountability Office seeks exchange with climate scientists

US Government Accountability Office seeks exchange with climate scientists

02/23/2015 - The Government Accountability Office of the US Congress (GAO) considers climate change impacts such as floodings or droughts to be a financial risk. To study the German perspective on this issue, it sent a high-ranking delegation to the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) as well as to some other institutions in Europe. This will result in a report on how to improve climate services in the US.

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IPCC scientist appointed professor

IPCC scientist appointed professor

02/10/2015 - The head of the Technical Support Unit of the IPCC’s Working Group on climate change mitigation, hosted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), has now been appointed as Professor for Science-Policy and Sustainable Development at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. The scientist, Jan Minx, also serves as head of the new working group “Applied Sustainability Science” at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), and he remains a guest scientist at PIK. Both the Working Group on mitigation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and MCC are led by PIK’s chief-economist Ottmar Edenhofer.

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The Global Calculator: new tool for climate information launched

The Global Calculator: new tool for climate information launched

02/06/2015 - Informing businesses, governments and non-governmental organizations about options for cutting CO2 emissions and the trade-offs for energy and land is the ambition of a new web platform called the Global Calculator. An international team led by the United Kingdom’s Department of Energy and Climate Change and co-funded by the European Union’s Climate-KIC launched the tool last week. Scientists that contributed to the community effort came from institutions such as the London School of Economics, the International Energy Agency, the Chinese Energy Research Institute, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), and its spinoff Climate Media Factory (CMF).

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„Two Big Bangs“: PIK Research Days

„Two Big Bangs“: PIK Research Days

02/04/2015 - Current and future research projects have been debated at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research last week – while also looking back at outstanding events of last year. The Research Days each year are a meeting of virtually all members of the institute, two days packed with lectures and discussions. This time topics ranged from the next world climate summit in Paris at the end of this year, to advancing computer simulation models of the climate system as well as the energy sector, something to achieve until the end of this decade.

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 Clean technology can partially make up for weak CO2 pricing

Clean technology can partially make up for weak CO2 pricing

02/02/2015 - Clean technology support can to some extent make up for weak CO2 pricing and hence help keep the two degrees target within reach, a new study shows. Even if the world climate summit in Paris later this year is successful in striking a climate deal, it might not bring about sharp greenhouse-gas cuts in the near-term. However, emission targets could be strengthened by complementary policies, such as support for renewables, a ban on new coal-fired power plants, and an initially modest global minimum price on CO2. If such a policy package – each component of which has already been enacted in some countries – were to be put into practice globally now, this could also pave the way for a clean economy with faster long-term CO2 reductions after 2030.

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