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.
Tag Archives: simulation
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.
This month Climate Interactive is holding a free webinar series, open to anyone, to demo our latest simulation En-ROADS, which allows us to try out different energy scenarios to work towards a world that works. We have held three wildly successful webinars so far and have two more next week. Although we haven’t released En-ROADS, we are showing it to you to explore all the areas where it could be used and seek additional support to prepare it for wide-spread use. Select one of the two times below to reserve your seat before this opportunity passes by!
We know that coal is not our ticket to keeping the planet cool, but does an anything-but-coal solution work? In this video Climate Interactive Co-Director Drew Jones uses our new simulation En-ROADS to see how natural gas effects climate and the transition to a clean energy future. On the one hand, natural gas is not coal and it is cheap, but on the other it isn’t renewable energy either and it still pollutes — natural gas fits into an anything-but-coal scenario but can it put us on a path to limit warming to 2 degrees by the end of the century? Watch this recorded webinar to find out and also see Drew explore other areas that could help us reach our climate and energy goals from carbon prices to energy efficiency.
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
Last month, Drew Jones presented at the EPA’s “Integrated Modeling to Characterize Climate Change Impacts and Support Decision Making” conference in Atlanta, GA. In the video above, he discusses the lessons our Climate Interactive team has learned while developing and sharing our C-ROADS model and its climate insights with the world.
We’re excited to be working with Chinese colleagues to develop a version of the C-ROADS simulation in Chinese and calibrating it to match the dynamics of China.
A partnership with Tsinghua University as part of the MIT-Tsinghua-Cambridge Collaboration, along with support from a team of partners like Peter Senge, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and others, has helped make it happen.
For non-speakers of the language, those graphs and sliders represent GDP, energy intensity, carbon intensity, fuel mix, CO2 emissions, and other factors.
We feel honored to be part of a shared effort between the US and China to address climate change.
More screenshots of the interface are below. Continue reading
More people around the world are getting to experience World Climate: A Computer-Simulation-Based Role-Playing Exercise! Here are a couple of recent examples.
Mike Goodman ran World Climate as part of a week long systems thinking workshop. There were about 25 participants who were part of Systems Approach for Natural Resource Problem Solving sponsored by the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management in Texas. Attendees included wildlife managers, ranch managers, professors, & graduate students (masters & PhDs). Continue reading
The U.S. State Department is using our interactive climate simulator, C-ROADS.
At the “NGO Briefing” of the UNFCCC meeting in Barcelona last week, someone asked the U.S. negotiator Jonathan Pershing, “What analytical tools do you use to make your climate impact calculations?” Mr. Pershing answered: “We use a simulation called C-ROADS out of MIT, which is based on sound science.”
For those who would like to learn more about this simulation (including the other groups behind it, including Sustainability Institute and Ventana Systems), please explore our online materials, including scientific review, and simplified online version accessible to anyone on web.
And, UNFCCC negotiation parties other than the US can now get their own copies of the simulation. Grants to Sustainability Institute from ClimateWorks, the Morgan Family Foundation, Rockefeller Brother Fund, and Zennstrom Philanthropies have made such access possible.
Interested parties can contact firstname.lastname@example.org