4 Tips on Facilitating the Climate Action Simulation with En-ROADS

April 14, 2022 by Kilian Woods

My name is Kilian Woods and I’ve been an En-ROADS climate ambassador for over two years. I had the chance to facilitate a Climate Action Simulation in January 2022 together with Bindu Bhandari, Heathcliff Demaie, and Hiske Overweg to the engineering students of IIT Delhi.

The simulation lasted three hours and was a great experience. The goal of this role-playing game was to introduce the students to the En-ROADS simulator developed by Climate Interactive and MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative.

There were 8 groups composed of around 35 students. The groups were:

  1. Climate Justice Hawks
  2. Clean Tech
  3. Conventional Energy
  4. Industry & Commerce
  5. Land, Agriculture, & Forestry
  6. Developed Nations
  7. Developing Nations
  8. Emerging Nations
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The groups had to negotiate an agreement during the simulation.

After reflecting on the Climate Action Simulation with the engineering students from Delhi, I’ve come up with four tips that helped me whilst facilitating the Climate Action Simulation with En-ROADS.

1. Create a safe space where the participants can share their ideas

The participants can have diverging opinions on different topics, and it is important they feel safe to share their opinions. A way to facilitate this is by acknowledging that there are different opinions and hearing each of them without taking sides. For example, when mediating negotiations with the groups the facilitators can create breakouts where the groups can reflect about their proposals and invite other groups to join their breakout room.

2. Be clear about the purpose and the roles of each of the groups

The facilitators should aid the participants in reflecting on what their groups represent before the simulation. This could be done by providing each participant with a briefing statement about the groups and by doing an initial session with the participants to explain to them their roles for the UN summit.

There is also the possibility to create a longer program around a Climate Action Simulation in which the groups would meet before the negotiation to participate in sessions about negotiating, lobbying, and influencing. These workshops could be delivered in the form of seminars by guest speakers — such as, inviting negotiators that have attended UN Climate Summits to an event beforehand. Participants could also share their individual reflections about the seminars, such as through individual assignments followed by group discussions.

3. Make the participants feel like they are negotiators in a UN summit on climate change

The facilitators should stay true to the characters they are playing whilst helping the groups negotiate agreements. For example, have someone play the UN Secretary General and give a strong opening and ending speech during the Climate Action Simulation.

4. Accentuate a feeling of hopefulness about the emerging future to the participants

Facilitators should explain the urgency of finding solutions to the climate emergency whilst also inspiring the participants that they can contribute to the solutions. For example, during the closing speech, the UN Secretary-General should congratulate each of the groups for coming to an agreement.

The Climate Action Simulation creates a simulation of a UN summit that allows participants to examine their ideas and notions about opposing ideas on climate change action. For both participants and facilitators, it is a tool that allows you to improve your communication skills, which is important when negotiating, lobbying, or influencing leaders to take the actions necessary to implement solutions to climate change locally or globally. I was impressed by the outcome of the final agreement and the response of the participants at the Climate Action Simulation workshop with students from Delhi. I believe these four tips helped me in delivering this workshop and could help facilitators to deliver their Climate Action Simulation workshops.

Find more guidance and materials for facilitating the Climate Action Simulation here.