After a year of rising impact for the Climate Interactive (CI) program of Sustainability Institute, the board of SI and the staff of CI are pleased to announce that the program is “spinning-off” from Sustainability Institute.
Starting today, August 2, Climate Interactive is a project of the Washington D.C.-based New Venture Fund. After the transition, CI will continue to use system dynamics simulation modeling to help leaders around the world build better understanding of the dynamics of the Earth’s climate system and the human economic and energy systems that interact with it. SI will continue to pursue its core mission of shifting mindsets and systems towards sustainability as well as sharing the legacy of SI’s founder, internationally known writer and systems analyst, Donella Meadows. Continue reading
Since 2006, Sustainability Institute’s climate efforts — Climate Interactive and Our Climate Ourselves – operating along side our work with international policymakers, has achieved significant successes translating simulation-based insights in eleven different forms.
1. Embeddable Widget. The C-ROADS-based Climate Scoreboard spread virally through the climate policy world during the Copenhagen Conference and was embedded in thousands of blogs and webpages, reaching over half a million views.
2. Online Datasets. The International Herald Tribune, Newsweek, and Washington Post used the Excel files of model output that we post online, to create graphics for their media to report the Copenhagen Accord. And 350.org used the same data as part of a poster to influence delegates at the meetings.
3. Simulation Exhibits. A consortium of science museum exhibit designers convened by Brown University integrated the C-ROADS simulation into a “touch-table” exhibit that is now touring New England science museums.
4. “Sticky” Metaphors. Dr. John Sterman (a partner in Climate Interactive) developed the “carbon bathtub” as a framework that was published as the “Big New Idea” in National Geographic Magazine in December 2009.
The Climate Interactive team, led by Sustainability Institute, delivered big results in Copenhagen at the UNFCCC’s COP15 climate conference.
Bill McKibben wrote in the UK Guardian, from Copenhagen: “the only people who really understand what’s going on may be a small crew … called Climate Interactive. Their software speaks numbers, not spin – and in the end it’s the numbers that count.”
He is overstating our uniqueness, but here are the top ten most notable moments and achievements.
1. Obama heard (at least they tell us). From our office in Copenhagen hosted by the Rasmussen Foundation and Sea Change, 48 hours before President Obama’s arrival, we created two rounds of customized real-time C-ROADS analysis of the COP15 negotiations requested by and delivered to a top White House science advisor who briefed the President before his activities in Copenhagen.
2. Our Climate Scoreboard went viral. While we expected only dozens of blogs and Facebook pages to embed the “widget” we created, we found that over 1500 actually did and that sites around the world, in multiple languages, added the Scoreboard (supported by Morgan Family Foundation) to their online media. CBS, NPR, Boston Globe, YES!, Washington Post, ABC News, and Nature for example. While we expected a couple thousand visits, we witnessed over 300,000 visits to the Scoreboard! See videos of Beth Sawin presenting it here and here.
3. Real time analysis of negotiations happened. As draft texts were released, we analyzed their impacts in C-ROADS (supported by Zennstrom Philanthropies) really fast. Press releases during Copenhagen are here.
4. C-ROADS analysis got to the negotiators. A dramatically leaked confidential UN document (reported in a scanned pdf version mid-conference by the UK Guardian) had the words “Climate Interactive” and “Climate Scoreboard” scrawled across the top! Check it out in the document. Continue reading
Amongst several dozen other major media outlets — click here for many of them — the International Herald Tribune used our open source Climate Scoreboard data to create their summary graphic for their coverage of the Copenhagen Accord.
A pdf of the full article is here.
Scoreboard June 4, 2012
The Climate Scoreboard is a new, easily accessible tool for understanding and tracking the global climate change negotiations in real time.
This new online resource — an embeddable widget, a short video, and a set of graphs and a table — reports, on a daily basis, the long-term climate implications of proposals to the United Nations negotiations in Copenhagen.
The Scoreboard team will follow the negotiations in Copenhagen from day to day, and continue tracking progress in the months following the conference, addressing the question: if current proposals for emissions reductions were implemented how much future warming would be avoided?
Share the widget on your blog, website, or Facebook page here or by clicking at the bottom next to “Get and Share.” It will automatically update as the global climate deal improves.
Let’s move that blue line down! Continue reading
Big news everyone! We at the Sustainability Institute (the co-creator and organizer of Climate Interactive), founded in 1996 by the late Donella Meadows, announced today the appointment of Bastiaan “Bas” de Leeuw as our new executive director.
Mr. de Leeuw’s move from his current position, leading the United Nations Sustainable Resource Management Program, will help the Institute strengthen our global support program for Climate Change negotiators, our modeling and outreach work addressing other key environmental challenges and our leadership development program, the Donella Meadows Fellowship.
We’re particularly thrilled to be adding such depth in international issues and the United Nations as we address the highly international and global issue of climate change.
During his 12 years with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Mr. de Leeuw launched various programmes and initiatives, in particular UNEP’s Sustainable Consumption Programme, the Advertising Initiative, YouthXchange, SC.net, the Life Cycle Initiative and the Wuppertal Institute’s Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production. Early on, de Leeuw was instrumental in promoting and designing the UN’s “Marrakech Process”, aimed at building an international ten-year framework of programs on Sustainable Consumption and Production. Most recently, he played a leading role in developing the International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management, a think-tank on global resource use chaired by Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsaecker, with Mr. de Leeuw as Head of the Secretariat. Continue reading
Big learning last night at the amazing TEDx Asheville:
People who understand the urgency of climate action are HUNGRY for a scientifically grounded story of the path to a global climate deal.
As part of the Climate Interactive team, I told that story last night using the C-ROADS simulator, and it felt like I was tossing 50 rib-eye steaks into a pool of under-fed sharks.
I think this has big implications for “messaging” about climate in these months before Copenhagen — we get to tell a story of possibility, not fear.
It “took a village” to deliver that presentation last night. Others who contributed directly to the content include Stephanie McCauley, Beth Sawin, Phil Rice, Lori Siegel (all with Sustainability Institute), Tom Fiddaman, John Sterman, Peter Senge, Chris Landry (presentation design), and Rick Fornoff (presentation coaching). And a powerful team led by Jennifer Saylor made the whole event happen.
Background on the scientific testing of the simulation is here. You can play with the simulation yourself here. You can also find other presentations of C-ROADS, other videos, and an interactive policy exercise using the simulator. The work is part of Climate Interactive, which is a program of Sustainability Institute, a not-for-profit organization founded by Donella Meadows.
The local daily newspaper’s article is here.
The tweets are all here.
Watch a video of the presentation here.
“And now everyone lift their watermelon over their head…!”
Click above for recent presentation of results from our C-ROADS simulation in Asheville North Carolina, home of NCDC — the country’s largest repository of climate data.
The model images are difficult to see. For clearer versions, check out the similar model runs here in our presentation in Sweden.
Thanks to Charles Elmer of WuMedia for filming and editing.