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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...

PIK research among the top 20 most-discussed papers worldwide in 2019, according to Altmetric

PIK research among the top 20 most-discussed papers worldwide in 2019, according to Altmetric

17/12/2019 - The EAT Lancet report by PIK director Johan Rockström and others was published in January 2019 in the medical journal The Lancet. Lighting up paths to feeding a world population of 10 billion people while respecting our planet’s boundaries and our health has earned the paper an enormous amount of online attention and debate, ranking on place 18 of the 100 biggest science stories of 2019.

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Artificial Intelligence: applying ‚Deep Reinforcement Learning‘ for sustainable development

Artificial Intelligence: applying ‚Deep Reinforcement Learning‘ for sustainable development

20/12/2019 - For the first time, a specific way of machine learning has been used to find novel pathways for sustainable development. So far, the so-called 'Deep Reinforcement Learning' has mostly been used to make computers excel in certain games, such as AlphaGo, or navigate robots through rough terrain. Now, scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research developed a mathematical framework combining recently developed machine learning techniques with more classical analysis of trajectories in computer simulations of the global climate system and the global economy. The results, published in the interdisciplinary journal on nonlinear phenomena 'Chaos', are promising.

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 Planetary boundaries: Interactions in the Earth system amplify human impacts

Planetary boundaries: Interactions in the Earth system amplify human impacts

16/12/2019 - What we do to one part of our Earth system does not just add to what we do to other parts – transgressing one planetary boundary can amplify human impacts on another one. For the first time, an international team of scientists now quantified some of the planetary-scale interactions in the Earth system. These biophysical interactions have in fact almost doubled direct human impacts on the nine planetary boundaries, from climate change to freshwater use. This insight can now be applied in policy design for safeguarding the livelihoods of generations to come.

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Germany likely to ramp up CO2 price path

Germany likely to ramp up CO2 price path

16/12/2019 - Germany is likely to introduce a more ambitious carbon price path than previously envisioned by the Federal government. The mediation committee of the two legislative bodies agreed on a starting price of 25 Euro per ton CO2 in 2021, gradually rising to 55 Euros in 2025. Previously, the German government's plan was to start with 10 Euro, rising to 35 Euro. The national pricing scheme is supposed to complement the European Union's Emissions Trading System. The Green Deal plans just announced by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, might also comprise more substantial carbon pricing. On this issue Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC):

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COP25 climate summit: "weak outcome"

COP25 climate summit: "weak outcome"

15.12.2019 - This weekend, the world climate summit COP25 in Madrid ran overtime to come to much debated decisions. Together, the two Directors of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research issued a statement to comment on the outcome. "This is a minimum compromise," says Earth system scientist Johan Rockström. Climate economist Ottmar Edenhofer adds: "The weak outcome of COP25 is sad but no surprise. It highlights that the next world climate summit in Glasgow really needs to be the turning point it is scheduled to be in the 2015 Paris Agreement timetable."

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COP25: Johan Rockström speaks at High Level Event on Climate Emergency

COP25: Johan Rockström speaks at High Level Event on Climate Emergency

11.12.2019 - Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, addressed the plenary of delegates of COP 25 in Madrid during a High Level Event on Climate Emergency. In his opening remarks he gave an "update from science", stressing that "the red thread in science over the past 20 years, is that we have underestimated the pace of change and the risks we are facing."

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Edenhofer: "The European Green Deal is a bold plan"

Edenhofer: "The European Green Deal is a bold plan"

12/12/2019 - The President of the EU Commision, Ursula von der Leyen, today presented the European Green Deal in Brussels. On Thursday, the European Council will debate it. Furthermore, it will be presented at the world climate summit COP25 in Madrid. On this issue, Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) said in a statement: "The European Green Deal is a bold plan that must now be followed by concrete action."

Edenhofer: "The European Green Deal is a bold plan" - Read More…

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