A group of 185 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows from across the world got a crash course in climate change policy from Climate Interactive Co-Director Drew Jones at this year’s Global Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C.
The World Energy and World Climate simulations helped these leaders, who represented 93 countries, gain insights into the complexity of international climate negotiations and what we need to do in order to address climate change.
Kristina Jenkins, the senior program officer at the Humphrey Fellowship Program, said the exercise helped establish a sense of solidarity among participants. Continue reading
Creating workable solutions to climate change isn’t easy, but human beings have a history of overcoming obstacles in difficult times (as we’ve said before, ending the slave trade was once similarly thought of as impossible).
In her speech at a teach-in at UMass Lowell, Climate Interactive Co-Director Beth Sawin reminded us that enormous progress on climate change is possible, as long as we’re ready to make some serious changes. For inspiration, she said, she likes to look to her family history.
Here’s an excerpt from her speech:
In 1943 my grandparents built a house. They were barely out of their teens, already married, with two young children. As far as I know, they had never done anything as huge as building a house
But times were hard, money was tight and they kept getting evicted from whatever rundown housing they could find. Continue reading
Too Late for What? Real Choices on a Changing Planet
Find out what leading experts on climate change impacts, activism, and policy are saying about our choices today and our world tomorrow. Add your voice to the discussion on our campus, in our community, and beyond.
Date: Oct. 17, 2013
Time: 4-6 PM EST
Or, for those in Massachusetts go to Cumnock Hall, North Campus
Also featuring short films produced by UMass Lowell and Cambridge students and an open discussion of how to move UMass Lowell’s Climate Action Plan into the future.
To attend, registration is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Register by completing the form here: https://climate-change-teach-in.eventbrite.com/
After much anticipation, the U.N. recently released its Fifth Assessment Report on climate change, leaving us with more certainty than ever that we need to do more to address the effects of climate change
In case you don’t have the time to read over the entire 900-page document we recommend a few visual aids that can help you understand some of the report’s major findings and what their implications will be for life as we know it.
To see how the U.N. projects temperatures could change over your lifetime, check out The Guardian’s interactive graphic, which allows you to input your birthday and see how much the planet has already warmed over your lifetime and how much hotter it will get. According to The Guardian’s analysis, if the world continues along with business as usual, a child born today would see rise of 2.7 – 6.3 degrees Celsius in his or her lifetime. To put that in perspective, 4 degrees was enough to take the planet out of the last ice age.
Image taken from The Guardian website
Because of the long time span and the detail of The Guardian’s graph, you can also see how temperature fluctuations have varied over time while exhibiting a clear general upward trend. This is especially important given the reactions of many climate skeptics to the lull in temperature increases over the last 15 years. As the graph shows, however, there’s no reason to believe this lull will continue if we continue business as usual.
Stanford grad students experienced the thrill and complexity of dealing with climate change head on recently, as Climate Interactive brought our World Energy exercise to Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy for the second year running.
Drew Jones briefs Stanford students ahead of the World Energy exercise
Led by Climate Interactive Co-Director Drew Jones, World Energy challenges participants to create an energy policy that will limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius while at the same time meeting economic and political goals. With our En-ROADS model, participants can adjust inputs such as emissions prices, efficiency standards, taxes and subsidies, land use changes and breakthrough improvements from R&D, and see the effects in real time.
Much of this year’s exercise was familiar — groups of astute grad students plugging away at the models on their computer screens, lots of invisible light bulbs clicking on, a good deal of surprise — but this time around, we offered a slight twist — thanks to funding from Stanford, the entire simulation was run online.
“One thing the students found particularly helpful this year was the fact that the simulation was online and accessible via a web browser, so the students could run scenarios from anywhere at any time and share results with teammates,” Jones said. “We’re now exploring the possibility of moving it into a shareable space so educators across the world can have access to it”
Travis Franck presents Climate Interactive’s “Climate Pathways” mobile app
As part of its ongoing interview series, the Climate Change Initiative at University of Massachussetts Lowell talked recently with Climate Interactive’s Travis Franck about some of our simulators and the insights they’re providing on climate change.
As Franck explains, Climate Interactive’s emphasis on an analytical approach called systems thinking gives its models a uniquely comprehensive view of the complex systems involved in climate change.
“Very often in academia, we work in silos, or departments,” he says. “With systems, it’s really thinking across those silos…and it’s really taking that perspective that combines those multiple disciplines and then looks at all the feedbacks and interactions.” Continue reading
In his latest blog for Transition Voice, Prof. Guy McPherson of the University of Arizona provides us with an excellent reminder of just how urgent climate action is with a list of 19 natural phenomena that are exacerbating global warming. The list illustrates a point that we’ve written about in previous posts and frequently try to reinforce — unless we act quickly, the effects of climate change will be felt faster and harder than we tend to realize.
Here’s the full list: Continue reading