With over 700 users worldwide and counting, C-ROADS has improved the understanding of which national climate commitments will have an impact and what is needed for us to close the gap between maintaining a safe livable planet and crossing tipping points that may have dire consequences. Our latest publication on C-ROADS reviews its uses and capabilities and explains a little bit of its structure and design. If you are new to C-ROADS and would like a better understanding of what this simulation can do for you we recommend checking out this article in particular. C-ROADS is available for free on our website. On our website you will also find much more detailed information and resources for you to explore as well.
Category Archives: Project news
Climate Interactive is embarking on an exciting new project to understand and improve the long-term resilience of pastoralist communities in northeast Kenya. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) hired Climate Interactive to conduct an initial study of the drivers of livelihoods. The ultimate goal of the project will be to better understand how slow onset disasters like drought impact pastoralist families, and to implement solutions that reduce risk of displacement.
Northeast Kenya, which will be our initial focus, is particularly sensitive to long-term drought. Climate Interactive will be using our unique, real-time simulation approach to make sense of the important data and trends within the region. Following a system dynamics approach, we’ve started by interviewing stakeholders and experts from Kenya. We’re using these interviews to construct causal loop diagrams of the complex social, economic, climate, and political systems impacting pastoralists.
Community resilience is hard to understand and hard to predict. Climate Interactive has been evaluating community resiliency in a variety of disaster situations, such as recent storms in the US. Societies will need to better understand how to adapt to flooding, drought, and long-term climate changes. Climate Interactive is already considering projects involving other locations and disaster risks (hazards). We look forward to helping decision makers, at all levels and in all organizations, understand our adaptation opportunities and challenges.
For more information about our work with IDMC and the Kenya project, please contact Travis Franck.
By Drew Jones, Beth Sawin, and Stephanie McCauley
What has our impact been?
Eight people, dozens of partners, five years, and two simulation models — what does it add up to?
Here’s our informal assessment of how much of a contribution we’ve made to the global effort to curb climate change
Together with our partners, we see three big areas. We have:
1. Kept things honest. Our mentor Dana Meadows operated out of the theory that societies will only find fundamental solutions to the challenges we are facing when the escape hatches of wishful thinking have been closed, and we’ve been working hard to follow her lead. When, in the first week of the Copenhagen summit, some global organizations began proclaiming that success was close at hand, we re-grounded our global audience in biogeochemical realities and watched the “spinning” subside, with global effects. When, during the Durban summit, some parties argued that current pledges were good enough to meet climate goals, we ‘ran the numbers’ with clarity and precision, providing solid backing to the young people and climate advocates who were questioning such easy assertions (view our Durban results blog post). More recently, when voices rose to declare an energy miracle or natural gas bridge solution to climate, while dismissing efficiency and renewables, we ran the numbers, changed minds, and noted that the words of key thought-leaders changed as well.
“[Climate Interactive’s] software speaks numbers, not spin – and in the end it’s the numbers that count.” — Bill McKibben in the UK Guardian
2. Improved policy design by top decision-makers. We have helped powerful leaders advocate for sound long-term policy. We have made John Kerry better armed with scientific insight, Jonathan Pershing more exact, China’s climate ministry more able to reach targets, EU’s Jacquie McGlade more clear, Bill McKibben more numerate, international analysts empowered, Hal Harvey supported by modeling, the media more informed and millions of activists grounded in solid science.
3. Motivated, inspired, and empowered, creating new possibilities (while avoiding manipulation and zealotry). We have motivated action and reduced emissions through the hundreds of thousands of global professionals and citizens who have taught others with our tools (C-ROADS, C-Learn online, Scoreboard, iPad Pathways app, Climate Momentum, Bathtub), shown others our videos (Beth Sawin on the Scoreboard, Drew Jones on TEDx, Travis Franck’s webinar, John Sterman’s lecture), led their kids through our first or second science museum interactive exhibits, or lived a successful global climate deal through World Climate, our mock-UN “serious game” played around the world.
Not bad for eight people, dozens of partners, five years, and two simulation models. Let’s see what is next.
Please be in touch if you’d like to support our emerging work.
Our World Climate Exercise, a role-playing game that simulates the UN climate change negotiations, has been played around the world from classes of school children in Austria to a visiting group of Chinese officials at MIT. The interest and enthusiasm from the community of people leading this exercise has meant several have volunteered to translate our materials from English into French, Chinese, and German.
Materials for the exercise in French are the latest addition to the collection, which we recently received from Laurent Richard, a French math teacher in Boston. You can find these materials and our other translations among the facilitator’s resources on our website. Let me know if you’ve used World Climate — we are always interested to find out how our tools have been of use and would love further translation of our materials.
Not too long ago we made our C-ROADS simulation available to anyone who wanted it (you can request a download here). Today, we are excited to find that the hundreds of C-ROADS users can be found in more than seventy countries worldwide. Our C-ROADS simulation, can help just about anyone understand the long-term impacts of policy scenarios to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on our climate. From environmental NGOs in Costa Rica to school teachers in Austria to climate negotiators in the US, our users are not only found in diverse locations but come from a wide range of sectors and use C-ROADS for many different purposes.
Know someone in a nation or region not on our map who could put C-ROADS to use? Send them our way.
For over two years Climate Interactive has been working with Tsinghua University in China to create a learning tool to model the climate goals of Chinese provinces. Because of our work with Tsinghua, they have been able to provide the Chinese government with a new easy-to-use tool in order to meet their climate and energy goals.
China has committed to a 40-45% decrease in the carbon intensity of the overall Chinese economy by 2020. In order to meet this goal the Chinese government and provincial leaders set targets for the provinces to adjust their GDP, energy intensity, and fuel mix. To create true engagement from the leaders at all levels, however, there needed to be a shared understanding of how to reach these goals, and methods for calculating progress.
In order to create a tool to track the progress of the Chinese provinces, a team led by Professor Zhang Xiliang at Tsinghua University began using system dynamics models, the technology of which grew out of MIT Sloan School of Management and is behind C-ROADS. The system dynamics models are a contrast from the spreadsheet models that were used to set the targets, which are not geared towards flexible “what if” testing. What they sought was a user-friendly, interactive simulation such as C-ROADS, which has been used by multiple governments as part of the UN climate change negotiations. Professor Zhang’s Low Carbon Economy team had the data, an understanding of the Chinese energy system, and a staff of modelers to create the tool, but their partnership with the Climate Interactive team enabled them to put these elements together to create a successful model. Continue reading
Every new release of C-ROADS marks an exciting milestone for the small team here at Climate Interactive that began creating this model three years ago and continue to advance it in a world where the need for better understanding of the dynamics of climate and policy is greater than ever. From Copenhagen to Washington, and most recently, to Durban, C-ROADS has added scientifically-vetted analysis to the conversation and efforts to address climate change.
To build on the successes and address feedback from users, version 3.0 of C-ROADS adds many new features to this already robust simulator. We hope that these additional features and updates improve the effectiveness of your climate change efforts.
With the new version of C-ROADS you can…
- Test the sensitivity of the model results to different parameters under the Sensitivity Tab
- Analyze policies with new types of emissions targets such as emissions per capita
- Adjust GDP and population assumptions
- Examine six new graphs for outputs such as GDP and population
- Facilitate the World Climate role-playing exercise using the new control panel
Please download the new version of C-ROADS by logging into Climate Interactive or requesting access by filling out our download request form. A video tutorial and version release notes are also available on our website to guide you through the new features.
For an online demonstration of C-ROADS and the new features please join us on February 14, 2012 at 15:00 GMT (10:00 EST). Please RSVP to reserve your spot at this web event at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/728788440.
Climate Interactive is excited to introduce the development of a new simulation, En-ROADS, which will build on our robust suite of open-source tools for decision-makers. En-ROADS is a fast, powerful simulation tool to enable understanding of how changes to our energy use, consumption, and policies can lead us to achieving our climate goals.
I’m excited to be leaving tomorrow to Beijing to work with our dear colleagues at Tsinghua University. They have asked for the C-ROADS simulation to be presented to a group of provincial leaders who are working to reduce the country’s carbon intensity 45% over the coming years. And we’ll collaborate on adapting the model for their own use.
The picture here shows many of us in Beijing during our last visit.
We’re pleased to announce the latest contest to be offered by MIT’s Climate CoLab. This project by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Collective Intelligence (MIT CCI) incorporates Climate Interactive’s C-ROADS model into a forum where people can test proposals and discuss ways to address climate change. Click here for details on the contest and how to enter!