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SPECIAL: Coal phase-out: Announcing CO2-pricing triggers divestment

Photo Schellnhuber presents 10 Must-Knows on Climate at COP23Putting the Paris climate agreement into practice will trigger opposed reactions by investors on the one hand and fossil fuel owners on the other hand. It has been feared that the anticipation of strong CO2 reduction policies might – a ‘green paradox’ – drive up these emissions: before the regulations kick in, fossil fuel owners might accelerate their resource extraction to maximize profits. Yet at the same time, investors might stop putting their money into coal power plants as they can expect their assets to become stranded. Now for the first time a study investigates both effects that to date have been discussed only separately. On balance, divestment beats the green paradox if substantial carbon pricing is credibly announced, a team of energy economists finds. Consequently, overall CO2 emissions would be effectively reduced. Read more...

Storm Harvey: impacts likely worsened due to global warming

Storm Harvey: impacts likely worsened due to global warming

08/28/2017 - Tropical storm "Harvey" is causing severe flooding in Texas. Because many people are asking if there is a link to climate change, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research issued a statement by its Earth System Analysis Co-Chair Stefan Rahmstorf. "Harvey" was not caused by climate change, he says. Yet its impacts – the storm surge, and especially the extreme rainfall – very likely worsened due to human-caused global warming.

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Importance of solar energy underestimated by a factor of three

Importance of solar energy underestimated by a factor of three

08/28/2017 - The growth of solar energy has been grossly underestimated in the results of the models of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Costs have dropped and infrastructures expanded much faster than even the most optimistic models had assumed. A new study led by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) - founded by Stiftung Mercator and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) - shows that in 2050, the percentage of photovoltaics in the global power supply could be three times higher than previously projected. According to the study, published in the journal Nature Energy, the share of solar energy will likely range between 30 and 50 percent, instead of 5 to 17 percent, as suggested before—even if the global demand for electricity continues to rise.

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Better farm water management can help to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals

Better farm water management can help to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals

07/20/2017 - Water use for food production today largely occurs on the expense of ecosystems. About 40 percent of the water used for irrigation are unsustainable withdrawals that violate so-called environmental flows of rivers, a new study shows for the first time. If these volumes were to be re-allocated to the ecosystems, crop yields would drop by at least 10 percent on half of all irrigated land, especially in Central and South Asia. This points to a tradeoff between water and food UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, improvement of irrigation practices could sustainably compensate for such losses at global scale. More integrated strategies, including rainwater management, could even achieve a 10 percent net gain of production.

Better farm water management can help to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals - Read More…

AGU prize for climate communication awarded to Stefan Rahmstorf

AGU prize for climate communication awarded to Stefan Rahmstorf

07/20/2017 - The World's largest organization of Earth scientists will honor Stefan Rahmstorf with its Climate Communication Prize. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) gives this award for outstanding promotion of scientific literacy, clarity of message and efforts to foster understanding of science-based values as they relate to the implications of global warming. The physicist and oceanographer Rahmstorf, co-chair of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany, is the first scientist outside the US to receive the renowned prize.

AGU prize for climate communication awarded to Stefan Rahmstorf - Read More…

Unabated climate change would reverse the development gains in Asia: report

Unabated climate change would reverse the development gains in Asia: report

14/07/2017 - Unabated climate change would bring devastating consequences to countries in Asia and the Pacific, which could severely affect their future growth, reverse current development gains, and degrade quality of life, according to a report produced by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

Unabated climate change would reverse the development gains in Asia: report - Read More…

From dry to wet: Rainfall might abruptly increase in Africa’s Sahel

From dry to wet: Rainfall might abruptly increase in Africa’s Sahel

06/07/2017 - Climate change could turn one of Africa's driest regions into a very wet one by suddenly switching on a Monsoon circulation. For the first time, scientists find evidence in computer simulations for a possible abrupt change to heavy seasonal rainfall in the Sahel, a region that so far has been characterized by extreme dryness. They detect a self-amplifying mechanism which might kick-in beyond 1.5-2 degrees Celsius of global warming – which happens to be the limit for global temperature rise set in the Paris Climate Agreement. Although crossing this new tipping point is potentially beneficial, the change could be so big, it would be a major adaptation challenge for an already troubled region.

From dry to wet: Rainfall might abruptly increase in Africa’s Sahel - Read More…

PIK ranked among top five climate think tanks worldwide

PIK ranked among top five climate think tanks worldwide

07/05/2017 - The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) was again ranked among the best climate think tanks worldwide. The new Climate Think Tank Ranking by the International Center for Climate Governance (ICCG) places PIK among the top five climate think tanks globally and among the top three of climate thinks tanks in Europe. Altogether the ranking considers 240 cutting-edge institutions working in the field of climate change economics and policy. Based on a solid quantitative methodology and analytical data, the ICCG lists non-university affiliated think tanks in an absolute and a standardized ranking – the first measures the think tank’s efficiency in per capita/researcher terms, whilst the latter measures performance regardless of their efficiency and hence size.

PIK ranked among top five climate think tanks worldwide - Read More…

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