With funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the UMass Lowell Climate Change Initiative and Climate Interactive are partnering to bring transformative climate change education tools to educators and students. Our newly launched project uses simulation role-playing games to put students in the shoes of decision makers, navigating complex social systems while making climate and energy decisions framed by Climate Interactive’s accessible, transparent, and rigorous simulations. Tools, like the World Climate Exercise, offer students an opportunity to find out, in real time, how the climate and energy systems are likely to respond to technological advances, policy interventions, economic and demographic trends, changes in climate-Earth system feedbacks and more. Continue reading
Tag Archives: climate simulation
By Drew Jones, Climate Interactive Co-Director
How can we build political will to take responsibility for climate?
It is time to invest in grounded optimism.
We should inoculate the world with an attractive, rigorous, comprehensive path toward climate success, as a means of helping people see and own the climate challenge in the first place.
Sounds backwards, right?
We’ve flipped the cause-and-effect for too long. We’ve mostly been saying (think “An Inconvenient Truth”), “climate disruption is a huge problem. So let’s solve it. Every small action counts.”
But it isn’t working. Too many people think, “it’s an overwhelming problem without a clear solution. I give up.”
We’ve seen the alternative work first hand. Over the past year, I’ve facilitated large groups of Stanford graduate students, international energy execs, a climate-and-business advisory panel in Washington, D.C. and others, and asked them to chart out viable solution paths and then see the impacts immediately in our simulators En-ROADS and C-ROADS.
They dream, grieve, learn, dream again, then emerge a bit readier to take responsibility for the problem, roll up their sleeves and try something a bit more ambitious. As Gerard Moutet of the French oil company Total said, “It now seems challenging but possible.”
Challenging but possible. Grounded optimism. Continue reading
For those following and participating in the negotiations in Doha, especially those working on the ADP, Climate Interactive provides our C-ROADS simulator free of charge for you to assess the impact that national and regional emission reduction pledges have on climate change.
This robust tool enables the comparison and summation of pledges from up to 15 different regions with different reference years and units, making it easy to compare pledges to reduce carbon intensity with carbon emission reductions.
“For the first time, with C-ROADS, we have a way to capture on the spot the implications of the key decisions that will be made around the follow-up to Kyoto, with sobering and powerful results.” — Dr. Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director, European Environment Agency
Find out more and request a copy today: http://climateinteractive.org/simulations/C-ROADS
Building on our analysis at previous negotiations, Climate Interactive will be in Doha and is available for consultations on our tools and services. Please contact email@example.com to determine our availability.
John Sterman, MIT Professor and fellow collaborator on many Climate Interactive projects, lays out the stark realities we are facing with climate change inaction in his presentation at the MIT Museum last month. He describes the risks we face by not taking immediate measures to address climate change in every sector of society and equates it to playing Russian Roulette with a revolver that has 19 of 20 chambers filled. His conclusion: we can despair, take no action, and allow the worst case to happen, or we can immediately initiate measures to reduce our carbon emissions as an insurance policy against the worst risks. Watch the video below for his complete presentation. Beginning around time 27:40 Professor Sterman demonstrates the unexpected dynamics of time delays and shows the Climate Interactive C-ROADS simulation, to demonstrate common misunderstandings about our climate system.
Climate policy analysis is accessible to anyone with the online C-Learn simulation. Just plug in your estimates of what kind of emissions reductions you think it will take to limit global warming to 2 degrees (or whatever your goal is) to see the effect on the rise of temperature, sea levels, or global CO2 concentration. C-Learn is a valuable tool for anyone teaching audiences and exploring the impact of different levels of climate change mitigation on our planet.
Recently we updated C-Learn to make it particularly useful to the growing number of people running the World Climate Exercise, a role-playing game simulating the UN climate change negotiations. Coupled with World Climate, groups can act out what it is like to be UN climate change negotiators working to create a global climate agreement. By creating pledges and testing them in C-Learn, groups can plan how to prevent the highest costs of climate change. World Climate is played in classrooms throughout the Tyrolean school system in Austria and in many other classrooms worldwide. Materials to run World Climate are available in English, French, German, and Chinese. These latest updates to C-Learn make the integration of C-Learn and World Climate even easier by offering the same inputs as the proposals World Climate Delegations submit. The fossil fuel inputs now accept a stop growth year, reduction start year, and annual reduction.
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.
The team at Climate Interactive have created a powerful educational tool in their En-ROADS model. At C2ES, we have experimented with the simulation both internally and with our Business Environmental Leadership Council, and the results have been both informative and illuminating. It is easy to make assumptions about the contribution that certain sectors, actions or technologies can make to reduce global GHG concentrations – and this simulation demonstrates in real-time how one’s assumptions and mental models are not always correct. En-ROADS teaches us that while it is still possible to avoid dangerous climate change, there are indeed no silver bullets to reach this goal, and we have our work cut out for us.
-Eileen Claussen, President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES)
Youngest “World Climate” players yet!
Climate Interactive’s Drew Jones led a class of eleven seventh graders from Hanger Hall School for Girls through the “Mock-UN” policy exercise where three teams represent country groups and negotiate a global climate deal. They learned the biogeochemical carbon system through the “Bathtub” analogy and improved their understanding of climate dynamics.
In this one-hour webinar, three model developers and analysts from the Climate Interactive team will introduce the new features, from new output windows, to sensitivity testing, to more control over underlying model assumptions. The session will be interactive, with ample time for questions and discussion. Drs. Travis Franck, Phil Rice, and Lori Siegel will lead the webinar.
Title: New Features in C-ROADS 3.0
Date: Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Time: 15:00 GMT (10:00 EST)
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
Attendees will be able to receive a free copy of C-ROADS software.
One of our founding goals was to offer rapid turnaround analysis of the most important climate and energy issues, and to make that analysis available ‘open source’. In doing so, we reasoned, we’d be boosting the effectiveness of the many, many parties –- from negotiators to civil society leaders — who are calling for climate policy ambitious enough to be consistent with the latest science. And, if such groups found our analysis helpful and clarifying, we assumed they would share it with their networks and constituencies, reaching more people than our small team ever would on its own.
Over the years, from Copenhagen to Cancun, this has been a productive formula for us, and it paid off again in Durban, where we analyzed the impact of waiting until 2020 to increase the ambition of pledges.
- The Washington Post covered our analysis on Dec 6th: U.N. climate talks move slowly as new studies urge more dramatic emissions cuts;
- Out of dozens of side events offered that day, the analyses from our team was included in the ECO – the Climate Action Network handout, widely read across the COP;
- In a youth briefing Jonathan Pershing was asked: “The current commitments that are on the table put us on a trajectory to around 4.3°C according to analysis by Climate Interactive. Are you suggesting that the commitments that have been put on the table are good enough and we should now look at 2020 and beyond?”;
- Civil society groups 350.org and Avaaz organized a global online petition drive that got 700,000 signatures in 48 hours. The petition said: “The world cannot afford delay on climate action. I urge you to abandon your proposal to postpone a binding global agreement until 2020, and stand with vulnerable countries around the world by stepping up your ambition and accelerating your timeline for bold climate action.”;
- The “Climate Progress” blog of Joe Romm reposted our findings; and
- Our analysis was shared within the TckTckTck network (a global alliance of more than 300 civil society groups). It also was included in a joint press release from Greenpeace and WWF.
While celebrating our role in these remarkable events, we also soberly acknowledge that, in the end, Durban did not increase the ambition of 2020 pledges to be in line with a feasible 2°C pathway. Our efforts helped the world to see, without any illusion, what was being decided, but we didn’t get a better deal.
So, we’ll be keeping at it, in 2012 and beyond. We’ll be ‘adding up’ current pledges, and we’ll be offering analysis of the ‘how-to’ of the transition to a low carbon economy, which is, after all, the fundamental re-orientation needed to deliver a liveable climate. As long as there are leaders out there calling for policy that matches the science, we’ll be doing what we can to offer analysis that helps them make their case.