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SPECIAL: Lancet report: Healthy lives and a liveable planet for all require major changes in what we eat and how we produce it

Arctic Sea IceFeeding a growing population of 10 billion by 2050 is possible if we shift towards a planetary health diet, a major new report by the EAT Lancet commission shows. International experts worked with the leading medical journal to develop the first comprehensive and detailed science based targets for improving our food system in a way that ensures healthy lives and a liveable planet for all. This includes doubling the amount of vegetables in what we eat every day, and halving red meat and sugar. Current diets are one of today's greatest causes for ill-health worldwide and in the same time threaten climate stability. Leading planetary boundaries researcher Johan Rockström, Director Designate of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and former Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, is one of the report's lead authors. 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.

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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.

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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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Reducing food waste could help mitigate climate change

Reducing food waste could help mitigate climate change

04/07/2016 - About a tenth of overall global greenhouse-gas emissions from agriculture could be traced back to food waste by mid-century, a new study shows. A team from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research for the first time provides comprehensive food loss projections for countries around the world while also calculating the associated emissions. Currently, one third of global food production never finds its way onto our plates. This share will increase drastically, if emerging countries like China and India adopt Western nutrition lifestyles, the analyses shows. Reducing food waste would offer the chance to ensure food security, which is well known. Yet at the same time it could help mitigate dangerous climate change.

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CO2 practitioners meet modelers

CO2 practitioners meet modelers

03/24/2016 - PIK scientists gathered for a one-day-conference this week to discuss limits and possibilities of CO2 fertilization both in models and observations in order to achieve the best scientific results. As special guests, they welcomed two experimentalists in the field: Bruce Kimball from the Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center Phoenix, Maricopa, Arizona, who is also a longstanding companion in CO2 research, and Onno Muller from the Institute of Bio- and Geosciences, Forschungszentrum Jülich as acknowledged expert in phenotyping. Their input was complemented by contributions from PIK director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber and researchers Hermann Lotze-Campen, Katja Frieler, Christoph Müller and Frank Wechsung.

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