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SPECIAL: “We need you”: UN climate chief to Potsdam climate scientists

Impacts world 2017Hundreds of millions of people will be affected by climate change impacts and their implications for health or migration already within the next few decades, sectors that so far often get overlooked in this context. This is one of the insights of the Impacts World Conference organised by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany this week. About 500 scientists from 67 countries were gathering at the conference with the title “Counting the true costs of climate change” to push climate impact research to the next level by better integrating socio-economic factors. At the same time, the institute celebrated its 25th anniversary hosting this meeting of the global impacts research community, in the spirit of its mission followed for a quarter century: further advancing scientific progress and communicating insights to stakeholders. Read more ...

New cooperation agreement with the Netherlands - with royal blessings

New cooperation agreement with the Netherlands - with royal blessings

At a festive dinner with the Dutch king and queen, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, and Jérôme Dangerman of the Kiemt Foundation have sealed a cooperation agreement for future research on energy issues and decarbonisation. The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Lilianne Ploumen had invited a handpicked number of guests from politics and enterprises to the exclusive dinner in Leipzig, among them the prime minister of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich.

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Sharing insights, shaping the future: PIK Research Days

Sharing insights, shaping the future: PIK Research Days

02/10/2017 - This week, all scientists and staff of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) gathered for their annual roadshow of scientific achievements and discussions of future projects. Packed with presentations and debates, PIK´s Research Days are an unequalled opportunity to share insights and shape the future course of the institute.

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PIK ranked among top climate think tanks worldwide

PIK ranked among top climate think tanks worldwide

01/27/2017 The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) belongs to the top environmental think tanks worldwide, a new ranking shows. Only the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) has scored better in this category, according to the "Global Go To Think Tank Index Report 2016" that has just been published by the University of Pennsylvania. PIK improved its position from rank 7 last year and rank 8 in the year before. Altogether, the ranking considered more than 6000 institutions across the globe.

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"Transformation now": Earth League meets in Potsdam

"Transformation now": Earth League meets in Potsdam

01/23/2017 - Some of the most distinguished international climate experts are gathering in Potsdam this week for a symposium of the Earth League, a self-organized initiative of leading researchers on global change. During two days, they will discuss how the Great Transformation towards sustainability can be brought about. The success of the Paris climate agreement aiming at completely decarbonizing our economies within a few decades is by no means ensured; fulfilling its objectives requires a ratcheting-up of ambitions through social, political and economic progress.

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New US President a risk for climate policy

New US President a risk for climate policy

01/20/2017 - Today, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as 45th President of the United States. "His populism as a business model will not prove viable in the long term," comments Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), Professor at Technische Universität Berlin.

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Harvests in the US to suffer from climate change

Harvests in the US to suffer from climate change

01/19/2017 - Some of the most important crops risk substantial damage from rising temperatures. To better assess how climate change caused by human greenhouse gas emissions will likely impact wheat, maize and soybean, an international team of scientists now ran an unprecedentedly comprehensive set of computer simulations of US crop yields. The simulations were shown to reproduce the observed strong reduction in past crop yields induced by high temperatures, thereby confirming that they capture one main mechanism for future projections. Importantly, the scientists find that increased irrigation can help to reduce the negative effects of global warming on crops – but this is possible only in regions where sufficient water is available. Eventually limiting global warming is needed to keep crop losses in check.

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How the darkness and the cold killed the dinosaurs

How the darkness and the cold killed the dinosaurs

2017/01/13 - 66 million years ago, the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs started the ascent of the mammals, ultimately resulting in humankind’s reign on Earth. Climate scientists now reconstructed how tiny droplets of sulfuric acid formed high up in the air after the well-known impact of a large asteroid and blocking the sunlight for several years, had a profound influence on life on Earth. Plants died, and death spread through the food web. Previous theories focused on the shorter-lived dust ejected by the impact. The new computer simulations show that the droplets resulted in long-lasting cooling, a likely contributor to the death of land-living dinosaurs. An additional kill mechanism might have been a vigorous mixing of the oceans, caused by the surface cooling, severely disturbing marine ecosystems.

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