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SPECIAL: Nature Magazine Editorial: Research decade must focus on climate

Die Wissenschaft der 2020er Jahre muss transformativ sein. Foto:Helping to limit anthropogenic global warming should be a prime task of science in the 2020s. “The coming decade must focus on climate change”, states a recent editorial of the world-leading scientific journal Nature. The 2010s saw breakthroughs in artificial intelligence via deep-learning technologies, in life sciences through the reprogramming of mature cells into stem cells, in physics with gravitational-wave detection and progress on quantum computing. While this was remarkable, the editors proclaim that “with new knowledge, and a renewed dedication to social and environmental responsibility, the 2020s must be transformational”. Read more...

Six Transformations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

Six Transformations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

26/08/2019 - The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change call for deep transformations that require complementary actions by governments, civil society, science, and business. While significant progress is being made on some goals, no country is currently on track towards achieving all SDGs. PIK Director Johan Rockström contributed to a paper published now in Nature Sustainability, outlining six major transformations that will be required to achieve these ambitious goals. Led by the United Nations Sustainable Development Network (UNSDSN), the research will be an input to the upcoming United Nations General Assembly Climate Summit on September 23 and 24 in New York City. Rockström will be a speaker at a number of events.

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Indian monsoon forecast: early warning for risk of flooding in October

Indian monsoon forecast: early warning for risk of flooding in October

The Indian Summer Monsoon is likely to withdraw from the Central part of India between 14th and 24th October 2019. The unique forecast, made for 70 days in advance, is the only available long-term forecast in India. Elena Surovyatkina, climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, leads the forecasts that showed to be successful already three years in a row. The monsoon withdrawal date is of crucial importance for billion of people in India. In a warming world, severe storms and floods during monsoon retreat are becoming more frequent. Such a long-term forecast could help Government to do strategic planning, consolidate resources, and strengthen capacity to respond effectively to disasters.

Indian monsoon forecast: early warning for risk of flooding in October - Read More…

Looking beyond the farm gate: New IPCC Special Report on Land Use and Climate Change

Looking beyond the farm gate: New IPCC Special Report on Land Use and Climate Change

08/08/2019 – Almost three quarters of habitable land on earth are under human use – resulting in substantial impacts on our climate, a new report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows. Today, almost a quarter of human-made greenhouse gas emissions arise from agriculture, forestry and other land use. The latest IPCC Special Report investigates the current situation, possible future scenarios and potential solutions on how we can use land to feed ourselves, fuel economic growth and limit climate change risks. Two Potsdam scientists figure as lead authors of the chapter on food security and on the relations between land and climate.

Looking beyond the farm gate: New IPCC Special Report on Land Use and Climate Change - Read More…

What Counts for Our Climate: Carbon Budgets Untangled

What Counts for Our Climate: Carbon Budgets Untangled

18/07/2019 - The more CO2 we emit from burning coal and oil and gas, the more we heat our climate – this sounds simple, and it is. Different analyses have come up with different estimates of how much CO2 humankind can still emit if we want to hold global warming to the internationally agreed 1.5 and well below 2 degrees Celsius limits, but a lack of clarity of the reasons causing these variations has created unnecessary confusion, a new study shows. It identifies the relevant factors that affect estimates of these remaining carbon budgets and thereby untangles the differences to make estimates more easily comparable, which will help decision-makers in using them. From a climate policy perspective, the bottom line remains the same. Even if the remaining carbon budget for limiting warming to 1.5°C would increase by a half, we would have only 10 years more time before emissions have to be brought down to net zero.

What Counts for Our Climate: Carbon Budgets Untangled - Read More…

 Sea level rise: West Antarctic ice collapse may be prevented by snowing ocean water onto it

Sea level rise: West Antarctic ice collapse may be prevented by snowing ocean water onto it

18/07/2019 - The ice sheet covering West Antarctica is at risk of sliding off into the ocean. While further ice-sheet destabilisation in other parts of the continent may be limited by a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the slow, yet inexorable loss of West Antarctic ice is likely to continue even after climate warming is stabilised. A collapse might take hundreds of years but will raise sea levels worldwide by more than three meters. A team of researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) is now scrutinising a daring way of stabilising the ice sheet: Generating trillions of tons of additional snowfall by pumping ocean water onto the glaciers and distributing it with snow canons. This would mean unprecedented engineering efforts and a substantial environmental hazard in one of the world’s last pristine regions – to prevent long-term sea level rise for some of the world’s most densely populated areas along coastlines from the US to China.

Sea level rise: West Antarctic ice collapse may be prevented by snowing ocean water onto it - Read More…

“New Market Design is needed”: lessons to learn from renewable energy regulation in California and Germany

“New Market Design is needed”: lessons to learn from renewable energy regulation in California and Germany

09.07.2019 - Important lessons can be learned from the two global frontrunners in the energy transition, Germany and California, a new report shows. Being the 4th biggest and 5th biggest economies worldwide, both jurisdictions draw more than 30 percent of their electricity from wind and solar and biomass, both have ambitious renewables targets of 80 and 100 percent by mid-century. An international team of scientists from Germany and the US now analyzed Californian and German policy pathways to draw conclusions for the way ahead. They find that market and renewable policy design adjustments in both jurisdictions to integrate the first 30 percent were small compared to the adjustments needed to integrate the second 30 percent. Importantly, strengthening CO2-pricing and policies to foster electrification must be an integral part of this.

“New Market Design is needed”: lessons to learn from renewable energy regulation in California and Germany - Read More…

Schellnhuber has been appointed a "Distinguished Visiting Professor" at the Tsinghua University

Schellnhuber has been appointed a "Distinguished Visiting Professor" at the Tsinghua University

02.07.2019 - Hans Joachim Schellnhuber has been appointed a "Distingushed Visiting Professor" of the renowned Tsinghua University. The founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) Schellnhuber, who is also a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, a member of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, and the pioneer of the 2 degrees warming limit, recently received the certificate of appointment in Beijing in recognition of his outstanding scientific achievements. He was honored by Professor Gong Peng, Dean of the School of Science and Director of the Department of Earth System Science at Tsinghua University.

Schellnhuber has been appointed a "Distinguished Visiting Professor" at the Tsinghua University - Read More…

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