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SPECIAL: IPCC report on 1,5°C: Unprecedented transformation needed to reach climate targets

Arctic Sea IceLimiting global warming to 1.5° Celsius would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, says a new detailed assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Ninety-one authors and review editors from 40 countries were involved in preparing the report, among them Elmar Kriegler from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) who is one of the lead authors for the key chapter on mitigation pathways. The Special Report on Global warming of 1.5°C will be an important scientific input into the UN climate summit in Poland in December and was prepared in response to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change when the historic Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015. Read more...

Coal phase-out: Announcing CO2-pricing triggers divestment

Coal phase-out: Announcing CO2-pricing triggers divestment

01/29/2018 - Putting 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.

Coal phase-out: Announcing CO2-pricing triggers divestment - Read More…

EU commissioner Stylianides visits PIK

EU commissioner Stylianides visits PIK

01/24/2018 - The European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) together with Director-General Monique Pariat and members of cabinet. He was interested in the latest climate research and particularly in prevention measures for the increasing risks of floods and forest fires due to climate change.

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FAZ-Blog: PIK climate scientists on expedition to the Antarctic

FAZ-Blog: PIK climate scientists on expedition to the Antarctic

01/23/2017 - The researchers Ricarda Winkelmann and Ronja Reese from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) recently departed for their expedition to Antarctica with the research vessel "Polarstern" of the Alfred Wegener Institute. Over the next few weeks, they will report regularly on their expedition, ice and climate change in a blog on FAZ.net. Usually, the two mathematicians at PIK work with numerical models and computer simulations. In the next few weeks, however, they will be collecting data on the Antarctic sea ice to learn more about the sensitivity of the gigantic ice masses of the ice continent.

FAZ-Blog: PIK climate scientists on expedition to the Antarctic - Read More…

Biomass plantations not compatible with planetary boundaries

Biomass plantations not compatible with planetary boundaries

01/22/2018 - Planting trees or grasses on a grand scale in plantations to extract CO2 from the atmosphere - this could make a long-term contribution to climate protection, but it would push the planet beyond ecological limits in other dimensions. A new study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in the journal Nature Climate Change now for the first time establishes a connection between ambitious international climate objectives and the more comprehensive concept of planetary boundaries. If biomass plantations in which plants bind carbon dioxide during growth are massively expanded, this would entail enormous risks for areas that are already stressed, such as biodiversity, biogeochemical flows, water resources and land use. According to the study, biomass as a means to capture and store CO2 can therefore only make a limited contribution. In order to stabilize the climate, a rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the combustion of coal, oil and gas is crucial.

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Adaptation now: River flood risks increase around the globe under future warming

Adaptation now: River flood risks increase around the globe under future warming

11/01/2018 - Rainfall changes caused by global warming will increase river flood risks across the globe. Already today, fluvial floods are among the most common and devastating natural disasters. Scientists have now calculated the required increase in flood protection until the 2040s worldwide, breaking it down to single regions and cities. They find that the need for adaptation is greatest in the US, parts of India and Africa, Indonesia, and in Central Europe including Germany. Inaction would expose many millions of people to severe flooding.

Adaptation now: River flood risks increase around the globe under future warming - Read More…

PIK´s Jürgen Kurths ranked as one of the most cited researchers

PIK´s Jürgen Kurths ranked as one of the most cited researchers

01/04/2018 – Jürgen Kurths was ranked as one of the most highly cited researchers in his field in 2017. His papers account for the top 1% of literature quoted in engineering sciences globally. The co-chair of research domain Transdisciplinary Concepts and Methods at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Head of Nonlinear Dynamics at Humboldt-University in Berlin publishes numerous research articles in high-ranking scientific journals every year.

PIK´s Jürgen Kurths ranked as one of the most cited researchers - Read More…

Detecting abrupt transitions – be it in ocean heat or financial markets

Detecting abrupt transitions – be it in ocean heat or financial markets

01/03/2018 - From stock indices to sea surface temperatures, a lot of relevant data comes in the form of time series. Reliable detection of abrupt transitions such as a downswing of stock values or water warming during an El Niño event in the Pacific is obviously important, but most analyses fail to take into account the uncertainties in the data. The challenge is to distinguish sudden changes while being aware of the underlying uncertainties. Although there are a number of change point detection methods, scientists now propose for the first time an approach that accurately represents the time series uncertainties and thus provide a more robust analysis.

Detecting abrupt transitions – be it in ocean heat or financial markets - Read More…

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