20 May 2016

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber is the founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and — along with IIASA Director General and CEO Professor Dr. Pavel Kabat and Deputy Director Nebojsa Nakicenovic — was one of 18 prominent international scientists to launch the Earth League.

Source: PIK

Source: PIK

Schellnhuber, who trained as a theoretical physicist, was drawn to climate research and through his interest in complex systems. In 1991 he founded the PIK, becoming its director in 1993. He is also chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), where he serves alongside Nakicenovic, who is also a member of the council. 

Schellnhuber has made an extraordinary contribution to climate science and policy. As early as 1995 he put forward the 2°C limit for global warming, which was adopted first by the EU and then as a global target. He has been lead author on reports for both IPCC and the World Bank, which have been vital to climate action around the world.

Schellnhuber has worked closely with IIASA for many years, and served on the institute’s council as the representative of the German National Member Organization between 1994 and 1996. Schellnhuber and the PIK were instrumental in launching the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project which is jointly coordinated by IIASA. This initiative, involving more than 30 research teams from 12 countries, systematically compares computer simulations of climate change impacts. This work is crucial to facing the challenges that global warming presents.

NOTE: The current information about the person might have changed since he/she has been awarded the Distinguished Visiting Fellow award.

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Last edited: 18 March 2019


Nebojsa Nakicenovic

Emeritus Research Scholar

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Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313