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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...

PIK again among the world's best climate think tanks

PIK again among the world's best climate think tanks

31/01/2020 - For 2019, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) was again one of the most influential think tanks in the field of environmental policy. That is the result of this year's "Global Go To Think Tank Index Report" published by the University of Pennsylvania. The ranking includes more than 6,500 institutions worldwide.

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Edenhofer: Shutting down German power stations could have been achieved more cheaply

Edenhofer: Shutting down German power stations could have been achieved more cheaply

29.01.2020 - Today, about a year after the report of the so-called Commission, the German government passed the Kohleausstiegsgesetz (Coal Exit Law). Power generation from lignite and hard coal, accounting for 28 percent of gross electricity generation in 2019, shall be stopped by 2038. Lignite operators will receive 4.35 billion euros in compensation; further compensation to hard coal operators will be determined and distributed through auctions. In addition, coal regions will receive 40 billion euros in structural aid.

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Buildings can become a global CO2 sink if made out of wood instead of cement and steel

Buildings can become a global CO2 sink if made out of wood instead of cement and steel

A material revolution replacing cement and steel in urban construction by wood can have double benefits for climate stabilization, a new study shows. First, it can avoid greenhouse gas emissions from cement and steel production. Second, it can turn buildings into a carbon sink as they store the CO2 taken up from the air by trees that are harvested and used as engineered timber. However while the required amount of timber harvest is available in theory, such an upscaling would clearly need most careful, sustainable forest management and governance, the international team of authors stresses.

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Climate costs smallest if warming is limited to 2°C

Climate costs smallest if warming is limited to 2°C

27/01/2020 - Climate costs are likely smallest if global warming is limited to 2 degrees Celsius. The politically negotiated Paris Agreement is thus also the economically sensible one, Potsdam researchers find in a new study. Using computer simulations of a model by US Nobel Laureate William Nordhaus, they weight climate damages from, for instance, increasing weather extremes or decreasing labour productivity against the costs of cutting greenhouse gas emission by phasing out coal and oil. Interestingly, the economically most cost-efficient level of global warming turns out to be the one more than 190 nations signed as the Paris Climate Agreement. So far however, CO2 reductions promised by nations worldwide are insufficient to reach this goal.

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Rockström as one Voice of Science at Davos World Economic Forum

Rockström as one Voice of Science at Davos World Economic Forum

21/01/2020 – After a year of climate change making headlines, the global leaders’ meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, too, has climate change written in large letters on its programme. Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research is one of the scientists present to make the voice of science heard.

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Tipping mechanisms could spark profound societal change towards climate stabilization: new study

Tipping mechanisms could spark profound societal change towards climate stabilization: new study

21/01/2020 - Limiting global warming to well below 2°C requires a decarbonized world by 2050 at the latest and a corresponding global transformation of the energy and land use systems of societies across the world. To achieve this goal of net-zero carbon by 2050 emissions need to be cut by half every decade from now on. An interdisciplinary team of researchers now explored tipping mechanisms that have the potential to spark rapid yet constructive societal changes towards climate stabilization and overall sustainability. These tipping elements and mechanisms could bring about a transition that is fast enough for meeting the targets of the Paris climate agreement. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) the scientists identify six socio-economic tipping elements and related interventions that could bring such a transition to a deep and rapid global decarbonization on its way.

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 Feeding the world without wrecking the planet is possible

Feeding the world without wrecking the planet is possible

20/01/2020 - Almost half of current food production is harmful to our planet – causing biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation and water stress. But as world population continues to grow, can that last? A study led by researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) now suggests a comprehensive solution package for feeding 10 billion people within our planet’s environmental boundaries. Supplying a sufficient and healthy diet for every person whilst keeping our biosphere largely intact will require no less than a technological and socio-cultural U-turn. It includes adopting radically different ways of farming, reduction of food waste, and dietary changes. The study's publication coincides with the World Economic Forum in Davos and the International Green Week in Berlin, the world's biggest food and agriculture fair.

Feeding the world without wrecking the planet is possible - Read More…

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