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Tiny ice losses at Antarctica’s fringes can accelerate ice loss far away

Tiny ice losses at Antarctica’s fringes can accelerate ice loss far away

12/12/2017 - A thinning of small areas of floating ice at Antarctica’s coast can accelerate the movement of ice grounded on rocks hundreds of kilometers away, a new study shows. It is known that the ice shelves surrounding the continent regulate the ice flow from the land into the ocean. So far it was assumed that the ice flow is most vulnerable to melting at the base near the grounding line where the ice flows from land into the sea and becomes afloat. Now scientists found that also melting near the fringes and in the midst of the ice shelves can have direct effects reaching very far inland. This could increase ice loss and hence sea-level rise.

Tiny ice losses at Antarctica’s fringes can accelerate ice loss far away - Read More…

Transformation to wind and solar could be achieved with low indirect greenhouse gas emissions

Transformation to wind and solar could be achieved with low indirect greenhouse gas emissions

12/08/2017 - Different low carbon technologies from wind or solar energy to fossil carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) differ greatly when it comes to indirect greenhouse gas emissions in their life cycle. This is the result of a comprehensive new study conducted by an international team of scientists that is now published in the journal Nature Energy. Unlike what some critics argue, the researchers not only found that wind and solar energy belong to the more favorable when it comes to life-cycle emissions. They also show that a full decarbonization of the global power sector by scaling up these technologies would induce only modest indirect greenhouse gas emissions – and hence not impede the transformation towards a climate-friendly power system.

Transformation to wind and solar could be achieved with low indirect greenhouse gas emissions - Read More…

Climate and public health: Leopoldina Dialogue in Potsdam

Climate and public health: Leopoldina Dialogue in Potsdam

12/05/2017 - Climate change related risks for public health are one of the most important challenges of today. However, the science communities on both sides of the fence have so far not sufficiently interacted to reflect the critical nexus of climate change and health. Taking the first mover advantage, a workshop of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) now brought together renowned scientists from climate sciences, health and medicine, psychology, environmental sciences, social sciences and economics. They will develop a publication offering stakeholder and decision-makers orientation on public health and climate policy.

Climate and public health: Leopoldina Dialogue in Potsdam - Read More…

Leibniz Doctorate Award for Leonie Wenz

Leibniz Doctorate Award for Leonie Wenz

11/30/2017 - Leonie Wenz from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) receives the Leibniz Doctorate Award 2017 for her dissertation "Climate change impacts in an increasingly connected world". It deals with the consequences of global warming for economic production in the context of an increasingly globalized and interdependent world. "In addition to the scientific quality, which is reflected in several publications in renowned scientific journals, it is also of high social relevance - examplary for Leibniz research," says the Leibniz Association.

Leibniz Doctorate Award for Leonie Wenz - Read More…

Many PIK scientists at COP23 in Bonn

Many PIK scientists at COP23 in Bonn

03/11/2017 - A number of experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) will take part in the climate summit COP23, taking place from November 6-17 in Bonn and presided by Fiji. PIK director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber will present the ten things you need to know about climate change, together with UNFCCC´s Patricia Espinosa, for example. At a side event with experts from the ETH Zürich, the ACT Alliance and Bread for the World, PIK´s chief economist Ottmar Edenhofer will discuss how to implement equity in the framework of the Paris Agreement.

Many PIK scientists at COP23 in Bonn - Read More…

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

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

10/13/2017 - Hundreds 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.

“We need you”: UN climate chief to Potsdam climate scientists - Read More…

Online Course on Climate Change, Risks and Challenges now in English

Online Course on Climate Change, Risks and Challenges now in English

10/01/2017 - How will climate change affect our lifes? What are the consequences? How can we mitigate climate change? These questions will be explored by scientists from leading German institutes during the interdisciplinary online course ClimateMOOC. The “Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)” is addressed to everybody interested and aims to impart a profound understanding of the climate system and climate change.

Online Course on Climate Change, Risks and Challenges now in English - Read More…

Ending tax breaks after the diesel scandal

Ending tax breaks after the diesel scandal

09/19/2017 - In response to the diesel scandal, the diesel tax advantage should be completely abandoned within the European Union (EU). In Germany, for example, diesel would then be about 20 cents per liter more expensive at the pump. In return, however, this measure would allow Germany but also France to reduce the emissions of CO2 and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by about 10 percent over five years. This is because diesel drivers in particular are much more sensitive to fuel price changes than previously assumed: a price hike of 20 cents per liter would lower their overall consumption by an estimated 14 percent.

Ending tax breaks after the diesel scandal - Read More…

A Brief History of CO2 Emissions – new film online

A Brief History of CO2 Emissions – new film online

Extending periods of changing weather, rising sea levels, shifting vegetation zones, even economic losses, social upheaval, and migration of people across the world – these are the effects of global CO2 emissions. The short film “A Brief History of CO2 Emissions” shows how greenhouse gases impact global warming – and our future. The animated short film of the Urban Complexity Lab and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) is now available online.

A Brief History of CO2 Emissions – new film online - Read More…

Edenhofer ranked as Germany's top climate economist

Edenhofer ranked as Germany's top climate economist

09/13/2017 Amongst Germany's most important economists Ottmar Edenhofer once again scored excellently in a ranking done by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), one of the country's most influential newspapers. He turned out to be the only researcher investigating climate and environmental issues in the group of top economists. For the third time in a row he improved, moving up to the 11th rank this year.

Edenhofer ranked as Germany's top climate economist - Read More…

Potsdam Summer School explores the future of cities

Potsdam Summer School explores the future of cities

09/04/2017 - The rapid pace of change around the world is presenting humankind and human environments with tremendous challenges. What solutions and strategies can we employ to future-proof our cities in the age of climate change? Experts from 30 countries will meet to discuss these issues with leading sustainability researchers at the 2017 Potsdam Summer School on 4 – 13 September. Their findings will be presented to the public in a memorandum on 13 September.

Potsdam Summer School explores the future of cities - Read More…

Electricity consumption in Europe will shift under climate change

Electricity consumption in Europe will shift under climate change

28.08.2017 - Rising temperatures due to greenhouse gas emissions will fundamentally change electricity consumption patterns in Europe. A team of scientists from Germany and the United States now analyzed what unchecked future warming means for Europe’s electricity demand: daily peak loads in Southern Europe will likely increase and overall consumption will shift from Northern Europe to the South. Further, the majority of countries will see a shift of temperature-driven annual peak demand from winter to summer by the end of this century. This would put additional strain on European power grids, the study now published in the renowned US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) suggests.

Electricity consumption in Europe will shift under climate change - Read More…

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.

Importance of solar energy underestimated by a factor of three - 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…

Why Climate Policy matters for the G20 finance ministers’ agenda

Why Climate Policy matters for the G20 finance ministers’ agenda

06/30/2017 - In order to stay below the 2 °C guardrail set in the Paris Agreement, climate policy should be integrated with the G20 finance ministers’ agenda. Finance ministers should consider the merits of carbon pricing for sound fiscal policy and thereby stimulate investments in carbon-free infrastructure. “It is rational for G20 finance ministers to embrace climate policy, even if climate change is not their primary concern,” writes a team of authors led by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) in an article published in the new issue of the journal Nature Climate Change. In their article “Aligning climate policy with finance ministers’ G20 agenda”, Ottmar Edenhofer, Chief Economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Director of MCC, together with MCC Secretary General Brigitte Knopf and colleagues from other institutions argue that investments in fossil fuels have become more risky in the post-Paris world.

Why Climate Policy matters for the G20 finance ministers’ agenda - Read More…

"This decision marks the end of the American century" - PIK and the Trump effect

"This decision marks the end of the American century" - PIK and the Trump effect

06/09/2017 - Last week US President Donald Trump has announced that he will leave the Paris climate agreement. This step not only triggered a wave of indignation around the world, but also led to a media rush on the scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. They were able to assess the decision and the importance of the Paris agreement for climate protection.

"This decision marks the end of the American century" - PIK and the Trump effect - Read More…

Carbon Pricing Report launched by leading economists

Carbon Pricing Report launched by leading economists

05/29/2017 - Meeting the world’s agreed climate goals in the most cost-effective way while fostering growth requires countries to set a strong carbon price. That’s the key conclusion of the High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices, presented in a major report today in Berlin by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz (Columbia University, New York) and Nicholas Stern (London School of Economics), along with commission members Mari Pangestu (Former Minister of Trade, Indonesia, today at Columbia University) and Ottmar Edenhofer (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research). The commission of 13 eminent economists from around the world has identified the range of prices on carbon needed to achieve the Paris Agreement’s climate stabilization goal. According to the scientists, the ambition should be reaching $40-$80 per tonne of CO2 by 2020 and $50-100 per tonne by 2030.

Carbon Pricing Report launched by leading economists - Read More…

Networking and training: PhD-Day at PIK

Networking and training: PhD-Day at PIK

05/10/2017 - A whole day to get together, share experiences and train in different science related fields: The doctoral candidates of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research met for a conference recently to discuss their work and compare notes with each other on their theses. Next to new PhD candidates that introduced their work to their colleagues, the day focused on several inputs on topics like communication, time management, slide writing and presentation techniques. There are currently 73 young researchers from 18 countries working on their PhDs across all four PIK research domains.

Networking and training: PhD-Day at PIK - Read More…

Energy transition: start-up costs of power plants increase only moderately

Energy transition: start-up costs of power plants increase only moderately

04/05/2017 - While start-up costs of thermal power plants increase due to the energy transition, they remain on a rather low level. This is shown in a new study published in Nature Energy by researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin). Before power plants fueled by coal, gas or oil are able to generate electricity, they have to be started up to a minimum load level. This incurs costs related to additional fuel consumption as well as wear and tear.

Energy transition: start-up costs of power plants increase only moderately - Read More…

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