Into the woods with Julia Pongratz

In episode 53 of Forecast, Mike talks with Julia Pongratz from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology about the role of land cover and land use change in the climate system. Julia began working on the topic with an unbelievable challenge: simulating the impacts of LCLUC over the past millennium. Now her interests encompass geoengineering, climate mitigation and model intercomparisons, with a focus on understanding the ever-complex interactions among biophysical and biogeochemical feedbacks. Also, Julia assures Mike that, unlike in Maine, the ticks aren’t too horrendous in Germany. Probably. At least in the big cities.



  1. Hey Michael. Ever since I found your podcast, I’ve become a great fan. I haven’t done a thorough search, mind you, but yours is the only podcast on climate change I’ve found that really dwells more on the science than on anything else. It’s really great that you’re doing this. And I know because you’ve said so in the last episodes, that you’re having Corinne Le Quéré on of whom I’m also a big a fan. I watched her recent UEA presentation “Climate Change and Global Decarbonisation” which was great. It’s on YouTube: At any rate and since you’ve invited feedback from your listeners, I’d like to share with you two–I don’t know if I could qualify them as such–‘pressing’ questions I’ve had that, I don’t know, perhaps you could raise with your guests. The first has to do with the whole notion of a runaway global warming. What are the risks and how high could the temperatures go and is there any chance at all that we might end up with a Venus-like atmosphere? And the second is how close to zero carbon do we as a civilization really have to get to? What’s the minimum carbon that as a civilization we can safely emit in an on-going basis once we bring the climate under control, that is, that would be naturally taken up by Nature and so on? I’ve heard from Kevin Anderson that there’s this notion of an emissions floor, that is, hard to decarbonize emissions from agriculture for example. But even that, precisely, we would have to decarbonize to ensure a climate-friendly atmosphere, not? So, I hope that wasn’t too much for a first feedback.

    1. Hi Günter — thanks for the comments, and sorry for the delay in responding. I’ll try to work in your questions into future interviews.

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