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Protecting forests alone would not halt land-use change emissions

Protecting forests alone would not halt land-use change emissions

11/17/2014 - Global forest conservation measures meant to mitigate climate change are likely to drive massive cropland expansion into shrublands or savannahs to satisfy the ever-growing hunger for arable land. The consequent changes in land use could cause substantial greenhouse gas emissions, a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change shows. In contrast to previous assumptions, conservation schemes that focus only on forests may thus fail to significantly reduce CO2 emissions from land-use change. If ecosystem protection policies aim at climate protection, they need to cover the whole range of land types, according to comprehensive computer simulations. To compensate for such restrictions on land use, intensification of agriculture to generate higher yields is important.

Protecting forests alone would not halt land-use change emissions - Read More…

Climate change: Limiting short-lived pollutants cannot buy time on CO2 mitigation

Climate change: Limiting short-lived pollutants cannot buy time on CO2 mitigation

11/04/2014 - Reducing emissions of non-CO2 gases and air pollutants with climate effects would bring health benefits and near-term climate co-benefits - but the impact on long-term climate change might be lower than previously estimated, according to a new study of the potential of air pollution and carbon dioxide mitigation in climate stabilization scenarios.

Climate change: Limiting short-lived pollutants cannot buy time on CO2 mitigation - Read More…

Educational project 'GemüseAckerdemie' wins special innovation award

Educational project 'GemüseAckerdemie' wins special innovation award

10/15/2014 - The educational project 'GemüseAckerdemie' (a play of words on vegetable field/field for learning) has been designated an "Excellent Place in the Land of Ideas", a special award which honors innovative projects helping to make rural areas fit for the future. A certificate signed by German President Joachim Gauck was handed over to the initiator of the GemüseAckerdemie Christoph Schmitz by Brandenburg's agriculture minister Jörg Vogelsänger.

Educational project 'GemüseAckerdemie' wins special innovation award - Read More…

Local food supply could help propel global food security

Local food supply could help propel global food security

9/4/2014 - Local or regional food supply could help ensure food security across continents, a new study conducted by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) says. It explores under which conditions a shift to local food supply may result in food self-sufficiency. The researchers found that by increasing crop yield in a number of ways, every continent could become food self-sufficient by 2050. This could substantially diminish the current demand for international agricultural trade, although it will continue to be relevant to some regions. The study is the first of its kind to demonstrate that actions at a local level could help achieve food self-sufficiency in many regions.

Local food supply could help propel global food security - Read More…

Antarctica could raise sea level faster than previously thought

Antarctica could raise sea level faster than previously thought

8/14/2014 - Ice discharge from Antarctica could contribute up to 37 centimeters to the global sea level rise within this century, a new study shows. For the first time, an international team of scientists provide a comprehensive estimate on the full range of Antarctica’s potential contribution to global sea level rise based on physical computer simulations. Led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the study combines a whole set of state-of-the-art climate models and observational data with various ice models. The results reproduce Antarctica’s recent contribution to sea level rise as observed by satellites in the last two decades and show that the ice continent could become the largest contributor to sea level rise much sooner than previously thought.

Antarctica could raise sea level faster than previously thought - Read More…

CO2 is fertilizing hidden hunger

CO2 is fertilizing hidden hunger

06/27/2014 - While CO2 emissions from fossil fuels are a driver of climate change with potentially negative impacts on crop yields, they are also a fertilizer for the plants. However, this effect comes at the expense of a deterioration of the current nutritional value of food, new research by the Harvard School of Public Health and others shows. This might lead to hidden hunger, researchers of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research argue in a recent commentary published in Nature Climate Change. Diets with sufficient calorie content could come with an insufficient supply of vitamins and minerals.

CO2 is fertilizing hidden hunger - Read More…

"Excellent researcher, warm manners": farewell symposium for Gerstengarbe

"Excellent researcher, warm manners": farewell symposium for Gerstengarbe

06/02/2014 - One of the founding members and key figures of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) was honored with a farewell symposium last week. Friedrich-Wilhelm Gerstengarbe, assistant director of the institute and co-chair of its research domain Climate Impacts and Vulnerabilities, embarked on his retirement. About 200 peers, colleagues, and friends, gathered to debate an issue dear to Gerstengarbe, a meteorologist who always cared about the practical implications of his findings: 'Climate and Climate Impact Research between Science and Society'.

"Excellent researcher, warm manners": farewell symposium for Gerstengarbe - Read More…

Two PIK researchers appointed professor at Humboldt University

Two PIK researchers appointed professor at Humboldt University

05/23/2014 - Industrial ecology and land use: for these two research areas leading scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) have recently been appointed professor at the Humboldt University in Berlin. “We are glad that Professor Helga Weisz and Professor Hermann Lotze-Campen, two renowned climate scientists, are joining HU, and that PIK and HU today are connected through no less than five professorships,” says Peter Frensch, Vice-President for Research at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Two PIK researchers appointed professor at Humboldt University - Read More…

Dangerous nitrogen pollution could be halved

Dangerous nitrogen pollution could be halved

05/13/2014 - The most important fertilizer for producing food is, at the same time, one of the most important risks for human health: nitrogen. Chemical compounds containing reactive nitrogen are major drivers of air and water pollution worldwide, and hence of diseases like asthma or cancer. If no action is taken, nitrogen pollution could rise by 20 percent by 2050 in a middle-of-the-road scenario, according to a study now published by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Ambitious mitigation efforts, however, could decrease the pollution by 50 percent. The analysis is the very first to quantify this.

Dangerous nitrogen pollution could be halved - Read More…

“Outstanding young scientist” awarded

“Outstanding young scientist” awarded

05/13/2014 - The European Geosciences Union (EGU) gave the award “Outstanding Young Scientist” of its division Energy, Resources and the Environment to Tabea K. Lissner from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The PhD-student received the prize at the annual meeting of more than 12,000 scientists form 106 countries in Vienna last week. She was honoured for contributing “to important advancements in the work needed to tackle the challenges associated with the provision of energy and other social resources,” according to the laudatio.

“Outstanding young scientist” awarded - Read More…

Hotspots of climate change impacts in Africa: making sense of uncertainties

Hotspots of climate change impacts in Africa: making sense of uncertainties

05/06/2014 - Overlapping impacts of climate change such as drought or flooding, declining crop yields or ecosystem damages create hotspots of risk in specific parts of Africa. These are for the first time identified in a study now published by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The uncertainties in assessing the impacts do not necessarily hamper but can inform development strategies, according to the scientists. Likelihood and potential severity of impacts can be weighed to decide on suitable adaptation measures.

Hotspots of climate change impacts in Africa: making sense of uncertainties - Read More…

Elbe has low water levels: „A rainy summer would be nice“

Elbe has low water levels: „A rainy summer would be nice“

03/28/2014 - Water levels of the Elbe and other big German rivers are currently as low as normally in late summer. Scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research have examined extremely low water levels as well as floods for a long time, but the current observed aridness goes beyond the scientists´ scenarios. This could have serious impacts on shipping and agriculture. Individual actors already warn of a record drought. -

Elbe has low water levels: „A rainy summer would be nice“ - Read More…

Capacity-building workshop on forthcoming World Bank Report

Capacity-building workshop on forthcoming World Bank Report

03/21/2014 - To share insights on a forthcoming report for the World Bank, including data and modelling, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) recently hosted a workshop for regional scientists. The report will provide analyses of climate change impacts on issues ranging from heat extremes to sea-level change in the Middle East and North Africa, agriculture in the Western Balkans/Central Asia and forests in Russia. It is the third in a series entitled “Turn down the heat” and is being produced in collaboration with Climate Analytics (CA). The aim is to identify development challenges created by global warming in order to assess social vulnerabilities.

Capacity-building workshop on forthcoming World Bank Report - Read More…

Global food trade can alleviate water scarcity

Global food trade can alleviate water scarcity

03/18/2014 - International trade of food crops led to freshwater savings worth 2.4 billion US-Dollars in 2005 and had a major impact on local water stress. This is shown in a new study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Trading food involves the trade of virtually embedded water used for production, and the amount of that water depends heavily on the climatic conditions in the production region: It takes, for instance, 2.700 liters of water to produce 1 kilo of cereals in Morocco, while the same kilo produced in Germany uses up only 520 liters. Analyzing the impact of trade on local water scarcity, our scientists found that it is not the amount of water used that counts most, but the origin of the water. While parts of India or the Middle East alleviate their water scarcity through importing crops, some countries in Southern Europe export agricultural goods from water-scarce sites, thus increasing local water stress.

Global food trade can alleviate water scarcity - Read More…

Global food markets: Climate impacts would be more costly than bioenergy effects

Global food markets: Climate impacts would be more costly than bioenergy effects

01/15/2014 - Ambitious greenhouse-gas mitigation consistent with the 2 degrees target is likely to require substantial amounts of bioenergy as part of the future energy mix. Though this does not come without risks, global food markets would be affected much more by unmitigated climate change than by an increased bioenergy demand, a study led by scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) now finds. Agricultural prices could be about 25 percent higher in 2050 through direct climate impacts on crop yields in comparison to a reference scenario without climate change. By way of contrast, a high bioenergy demand as part of a scenario with ambitious mitigation appears to raise prices only about 5 percent.

Global food markets: Climate impacts would be more costly than bioenergy effects - Read More…

Recognizing the Elephant in the Room: Future Climate Impacts across Sectors

Recognizing the Elephant in the Room: Future Climate Impacts across Sectors

12/16/2013 - A pioneering collaboration within the international scientific community has provided comprehensive projections of climate change effects, ranging from water scarcity to risks to crop yields. This interdisciplinary effort, employing extensive model inter-comparisons, allows research gaps to be identified, whilst producing the most robust possible findings. The results provide crucial insights for decision-making regarding mitigation efforts in the face of potential impact cascades. The analyses are to be published in a special feature of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that assembles the first results of the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP), which aims at bringing research on climate impacts onto a new level.

Recognizing the Elephant in the Room: Future Climate Impacts across Sectors - Read More…

PIK wins Potsdam Congress Award

PIK wins Potsdam Congress Award

11/15/2013 - In two categories at once, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has won the Potsdam Congress Award 2013. PIK´s international climate impacts conference “Impacts World 2013” as well as the „Global Sustainability Summer School“ that PIK has organized together with the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) twice already were honoured by Potsdam´s mayor Jann Jacobs at the Potsdam convention center.

PIK wins Potsdam Congress Award - Read More…

Cities show characteristic heat island effects

Cities show characteristic heat island effects

10/23/2013 - Cities heat up stronger than the rural regions surrounding them – and if climate change continues, this will become a risk for the inhabitants. On the basis of satellite data, researchers have now more comprehensively than ever before investigated this so-called heat island effect for thousands of cities in Europe. This effect can be noticed in everyday life: If you ride your bicycle from the green surroundings into a city on a hot day, you will often notice a temperature change. The larger a city is, the stronger is the effect, previous studies assumed. Now scientists could for the first time show that the urban heat island effect is in fact increasing with the size of the city – yet only up to a certain threshold value. The analysis revealed that even large cities are getting hotter than their surrounding by only two to three degrees on the average.

Cities show characteristic heat island effects - Read More…

World Summit of Agriculture Experts

World Summit of Agriculture Experts

10/16/2013 - The “World Food Prize” is considered as something like the Nobel Prize of Agricultural Science. It will be awarded within the framework of the Borlaug Dialogue Symposium starting today, where numerous internationally renowned experts from science, politics and economy will meet. Among the speakers is also Hermann Lotze-Campen from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

World Summit of Agriculture Experts - Read More…

Water management in China: High-ranking delegation discusses with scientists

Water management in China: High-ranking delegation discusses with scientists

09/16/2013 - A high-ranking group of Chinese experts visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) for discussions about water management under the conditions of climate change. The Haihe River Commission's delegation was led by its General Director Ren Xianshao, who is directly linked to the Ministry of Water Resources of the People’s Republic. Both sides discussed how a new cooperation project on the river basin of Luan can be realised. This river basin supplies Tianjin with water – the third largest city of China.

Water management in China: High-ranking delegation discusses with scientists - Read More…

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