Climate Change Negotiations Simulation
Negotiations during a World Climate simulation. Source: Dr. Florian Kapmeier, Reutlingen University, Germany
World Climate enables participants to experience the dynamics that emerge as nations negotiate a global agreement on climate change and to develop a deeper understanding of how to address climate change. The exercise is framed by current climate change science, through the interactive C-ROADS computer simulation, enabling participants to find out how their decisions impact the global climate system in real-time.
World Climate is:
- Suitable for secondary school, universities, community groups, executive leaders, scientists and everyone in between
- Interactive and experiential
- Mediated by an easy to use computer simulation
- Free of charge, with all materials ready to download below
Climate Interactive designed World Climate in partnership with Professor John Sterman at MIT. Ongoing work on the exercise is in collaboration with Dr. Juliette Rooney-Varga, Director of University of Massachusetts Lowell Climate Change Initiative with support from the National Science Foundation.
How Does World Climate Work?
World Climate is a highly simplified international climate change negotiations meeting. Each participant plays the role of a delegate representing a specific nation or region of the world, or, in some cases, an interest group. Everyone must then work together, in their respective roles, to reach a global agreement that successfully addresses climate change (e.g., to limit warming to 2˚ C above preindustrial times by 2100).
Exercises vary in length, but most run from 1-3 hours.
Participants dive into a simulation in Costa Rica.
Source: COP in MyCity
Participants in a World Climate simulation quickly learn the policy-relevant science of climate change, viscerally experience the geopolitical and social dynamics of climate negotiations, and personally engage in crafting a solution, while taking a realistic look at the scale of changes ahead as we shift to a low-carbon global economy.
Like climate change itself, World Climate crosses disciplines, delivering insights into:
- Policies and actions needed to address climate change
- The forces that influence national positions on a climate treaty
- Dynamics of the climate system (including relevant feedbacks, tipping points, and time delays)
- What it will take to meet the 2°C goal
- Psychological responses to complex problems
- Systems thinking.
Who’s Using World Climate
Thousands around the world have participated in the World Climate Exercise since its debut. Audiences have included: Nobel-prize winning scientists, former Secretary of State George Schultz, university presidents, European Union policymakers, oil executives, the U.S. Forest Service, members of The Climate Group, MIT Executive MBA students, and countless classrooms from high schools to colleges. The international youth think tank CliMates even runs the campaign COP in MyCity for young people around the world to lead World Climate in their communities and link efforts to advance international climate policy.
Dr. Peter Senge debriefing World Climate exercise
Feedback we’ve heard
“The World Climate Exercise made the consequences of climate change feel more real to me, further fueling my motivation to address climate change.”
- Courtney James, UMass Lowell undergraduate
“I can vouch for how enlightening, challenging, and oddly fun — racing to come up with a climate deal before the clock runs out — this role playing game is. If I were climate czar, it would be required of all high school students before they graduated . . . and incoming freshmen in college should have to do the energy game.”
- Mark McCaffrey, Programs and Policy Director, National Center for Science Education
“From an instructors perspective I found the support materials very helpful and brought to life a topic that I have taught previously to classes with high levels of interest but without such broad engagement – every student seemed switched on today.”
- Dr. John Broderick, Research Fellow, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Manchester
“All the students were enthusiastic about this experience and want to do it again this year! I received a lot of positive feedback and, most importantly, several students wrote to tell me how they now want, through their studies, to fight against climate change. One student even switched his plans for college so as to pursue a degree in environmental studies.”
- Laurent Richard, mathematics teacher at the International School of Boston
“[Climate Interactive’s] software speaks numbers, not spin – and in the end it’s the numbers that count.”
- Bill McKibben, Founder, 350.org
If you have developed any additional materials or variations on World Climate we would be delighted to hear about it. Please contact us.
World Climate featured in:
MIT Sloan Leading Edge website