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SPECIAL: Direct CO2 pricing gives room for additional voluntary emissions reductions

Foto: iStockMost climate economist agree that it makes sense to put a price tag on the emission of the most important greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, CO2. The discussion primarily revolves around whether it would be better to achieve this through a tax or emissions trading. Arguments include the administrative effort involved, the signal effect for investors, and the political enforceability. A new study based on a scientifically controlled experiment now sheds light on another aspect that has barely been researched so far: the incentive effect of both options on actors who want to act morally beyond their economic interests. The study was conducted by the economists Axel Ockenfels, Peter Werner and Ottmar Edenhofer, and has now been published in the renowned journal Nature Sustainability. Read more...

New top German IPCC scientist visits PIK

New top German IPCC scientist visits PIK

2016/01/25 - The newly elected top German scientist in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Hans-Otto Pörtner, visited the Potsdam Institute (PIK) this week for an intense exchange about challenges of the next climate science assessment report. It will be the sixth of its kind and due in 2022. Pörtner, a senior biologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, heads the part of the report assessing climate change impacts. This is a core research issue of PIK. What is more, for half a decade PIK’s chief economist was head of the IPCC’s working group on mitigation.

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Record warm years almost certainly due to human-made climate change

Record warm years almost certainly due to human-made climate change

01/25/2016 - Recent record warm years are with extremely high likelihood caused by human-made climate change. Without greenhouse-gas emissions from burning coal and oil, the odds are vanishingly small that 13 out of the 15 warmest years ever measured would all have happened in the current, still young century. These odds are between 1 in 5000 and 1 in 170.000, a new study by an international team of scientists now shows. Including the data for 2015, which came in after the study was completed, makes the odds even slimmer.

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US Ambassador discusses Paris Agreement in Potsdam

US Ambassador discusses Paris Agreement in Potsdam

01/14/2016 - The Ambassador of the United States to Germany, John B. Emerson, visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) this week to discuss the consequences of the recent UN summit in Paris. Following a meeting behind closed doors with PIK director John Schellnhuber, the high-ranking guest gave a talk to researchers and students. Both the Ambassador and the PIK director highlighted the urgency of achieving further progress towards effective climate stabilization.

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Historic climate agreement: “The spirits of Paris have defeated the ghosts of Copenhagen"

Historic climate agreement: “The spirits of Paris have defeated the ghosts of Copenhagen"

12/14/2015 - 195 states worldwide adopted a breakthrough climate agreement at the UN climate summit in Paris, COP21. Leading scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research actively participated in the historic meeting that put the world on the path to limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and bring down greenhouse-gas emissions to net zero within a few decades. While implementing the treaty will be an enormous challenge, for the first time ever climate stabilization and hence limiting climate risks including weather extremes and sea-level rise comes into reach. It is the beginning, not the end, of a process that now requires rapid implementation strong policy instruments that live up to the aspirations of the agreement.

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Climate macroscope: new software for future research

Climate macroscope: new software for future research

12/23/2015 - Researchers have developed a new open source Python-based software package for examining climate change and other data-heavy networks on a macroscopic level.

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„Self-combustion“: Schellnhuber's view of the big picture

„Self-combustion“: Schellnhuber's view of the big picture

11/02/2015 - From the pioneer days in barracks to the Pope in the Vatican, from the first mathematical equations to cutting edge computer simulations – for three decades, the physicist and political advisor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber has been exploring climate change as a challenge for humanity. Account of the state of research, life story, eco-manifest: all this is his major upcoming book on the climate crisis. As the founder and director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), he authored hundreds of scientific papers and shaped ideas like the internationally-accepted two-degree limit. A few weeks prior to the UN Climate Summit in Paris, his book now addresses a wider public.

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Cold, hot or dry: Persistent weather extremes associated with decreased storm activity

Cold, hot or dry: Persistent weather extremes associated with decreased storm activity

12/11/2015 - A decrease in storm activity over large parts of the US, Europe, Russia, and China is found to influence weather extremes – cold ones in winter, hot or dry ones in summer. This is now shown in a study by scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The observed changes in storm activity are likely related to changes in other atmospheric dynamics like the jet stream – strong westerly winds circling the Northern hemisphere high up in the sky.

Cold, hot or dry: Persistent weather extremes associated with decreased storm activity - Read More…

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