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