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SPECIAL: Germany phases out coal to help stabilize our climate

Arctic Sea IceThe Coal Commission established by the German government recommends to phase out coal - with an end date in the 2030s. It is highly likely that political decision-makers will act upon this recommendation now and indeed put an end-date to coal-use in the world's fourth biggest economy Germany. The Coal Commission consisted of representatives from industry, trade unions, environmental associations, and academia. Experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) were closely involved in the difficult negotiations. Physicist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, PIK's Director Emeritus, was a member of the Commission. PIK's acting Director and chief economist Ottmar Edenhofer had been invited to provide advice to the committee. Read more...

 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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Schellnhuber speaks at World Economic Forum in Davos

Schellnhuber speaks at World Economic Forum in Davos

01/23/2015 - The World Economic Forum in Davos, assembling hundreds of government and business leaders, invited the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, to speak. He joined a panel on climate risks with the Secretary-General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the President of the financial services and rating company Standard & Poor's , and the President of the Rockefeller Foundation. The audience included scientists like Naomi Oreskes of Harvard University and policy-makers such as Christiana Figueres of the UNFCCC.

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National academy acatech appoints Ottmar Edenhofer

National academy acatech appoints Ottmar Edenhofer

01/16/2015 - In recognition of his outstanding scientific achievements, climate economist Ottmar Edenhofer has been elected a member of the German National Academy for Science and Engineering, acatech. Edenhofer is deputy director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), and Professor at Technische Universität Berlin. He already chairs the Energy Platform of the European Council of Academies of Applied Sciences, Technologies and Engineering (Euro-CASE), of which acatech is a part. In the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Edenhofer led the working group on mitigation which published its highly influential Fifth Assessment Report last year.

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Four of nine planetary boundaries now crossed

Four of nine planetary boundaries now crossed

01/16/2015 - Four of nine planetary boundaries have now been crossed as a result of human activity, says an international team of 18 researchers in the journal Science. The four are: climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land-system change, altered biogeochemical cycles. The scientists say that two of these, climate change and biosphere integrity, are “core boundaries” – significantly altering either of these would “drive the Earth System into a new state”. The team will present their findings in seven seminars at the World Economic Forum in Davos (21-25 January).

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