April 5, 2022 by Bindu Bhandari
As the window of opportunity to climate-resilient development is swiftly closing, how do we ensure that climate justice and equity remain central to our actions and choices? At Climate Interactive, our En-ROADS simulator allows users to create and share scenarios to limit the rise of global average temperature. Below are some tips for bringing justice and equity into En-ROADS events.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just released the final part of its sixth Assessment Report (AR6). Throughout the report there is emphasis that the choices we make in the next decade will be a deciding factor for our success or failure in achieving climate-resilient development. The urgency of the climate crisis demands solutions at a scale and pace unlike any other time. But the history and trends in the distribution of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, resulting impacts, and the capacity to adapt and respond to climate change vary substantially across communities and regions. At Climate Interactive, we envision a world where GHG emissions are falling rapidly with equitable policies. While there is a multitude of scenarios that meet this climate goal in En-ROADS, it is crucial that these scenarios are also ones that improve health, equity, and well-being while protecting the climate (known as multisolving).
Here are 5 tips for bringing justice and equity into En-ROADS events:
1. Make climate justice the focus in marketing and how the event begins
This is basic yet one of the most effective ways, and recommended by many of our En-ROADS Climate Ambassadors. Marketing your workshop as a Climate Justice Workshop with En-ROADS, and starting with a question that puts justice and equity as the locus of the event instead of a subsidiary component is a great start to a deeper dive into the topic. An example of such a starter question would be: “Using the En-ROADS simulator, choose a high leverage solution that is effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and that also improves people’s health and well-being in the near term.” Then have people explain what they chose and why.
2. Show the impacts graphs
The impacts of climate change are (and will be) felt disproportionately around the globe. Referring to the impact graphs in En-ROADS helps people realize how avoiding every degree of warming matters. These graphs include things like:
These graphs essentially translate otherwise abstract numeric goals (1.5°C or 2°C) to the actual implications in the lives and livelihoods of the billions of people at the forefront of climate change. It can also be a segue to discuss the need for sufficient climate financing, and for strengthening the adaptive capacity of communities that will be hit hardest by climate change impacts.
3. Discuss the cost of energy
As the world races to eradicate energy poverty and meet the growing energy demands of rapidly emerging markets, especially in the Global South, making sustainable energy sources accessible and affordable for everyone will be a daunting task. Some of the potentially high leverage climate solutions such as carbon price when implemented tend to increase the cost of energy significantly and can even aggravate existing inequalities. For example, in this En-ROADS scenario, a very high global carbon price of $150/ ton CO2 will dramatically increase the cost of energy in the next decade before it stabilizes in the latter half of the century. But the net revenue generated (up to 5 trillion $/year) could be used in various ways to help low-income households meet their energy needs and subsidize renewable energy, research and development for new zero-carbon energy sources. Allow your participants to brainstorm ideas that plan to help climate without hurting the most vulnerable.
4. Don’t overlook land use
Depending on the usage, land can be both a source and a sink for greenhouse gases. Some of the nature-based and engineered land-based mitigation approaches such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and large scale afforestation require vast amounts of land. This raises critical questions relating to the rights of indigenous people, biodiversity, and food security. Encourage your participants to also consider some of the limitations of such solutions. Land for Growing CO2 Removal Biomass graph is often particularly helpful to stir this discussion.
5. Tailor to the local knowledge and context
A key to facilitating meaningful En-ROADS events is to touch the hearts and minds of participants. For that purpose, it is essential that participants can relate the scenarios and outcomes in the simulator to their day to day lives. We recommend our En-ROADS users spend time mapping out some of the equity and justice considerations relevant to their particular communities and contexts. For example, I am from Nepal, the land of the Himalayas, so whenever I facilitate En-ROADS events here in Nepal, I make sure to explain how every degree of warming impacts our glaciers, freshwater availability, and the millions of livelihoods that depend on mountain ecosystems.
Bonus: There are abundant ways to incorporate climate justice and equity in En-ROADS. Our one-page guide on Equity Consideration for En-ROADS provides ideas for each of the 18 En-ROADS sliders (access it here). Also, check out our En-ROADS User Guide which lists equity considerations for each of the 18 En-ROADS sliders.
Let us know some of your favorite ways of incorporating equity and justice into En-ROADS events!