I’ve been passionate about climate change and clean energy for about 3 decades, which gives me plenty of opportunity for reflection on synchronicities, degrees of separation, and what a friend of mine calls, the “genealogy of influence.”
Recently I learned that a longtime climate warrior colleague, Chris Page, had started to work with Climate Interactive, and specifically the En-ROADS climate simulator. We first met through the SOL Sustainability Consortium in 2000 when I was immersed in corporate sustainability efforts at Nike, and Chris was at the Rocky Mountain Institute.
The Sol Sustainability Consortium was a group of energized individuals from businesses and organizations trying to find ways to take our sustainability efforts to scale. Companies like Shell and BP were actually at the table in an authentic way. Guided by Joe Laur and Sara Schley, partners in Seed Systems and mentored by Peter Senge of MIT we were inspired by the real potential of systems thinking and sustainability to transform our companies.
Peter’s role on the faculty at MIT Sloan gained us access to cutting edge groups working with systems dynamics modeling. Climate change was a key topic and one of the projects that we were introduced to was called C-ROADS. Nike contributed some very modest early stage funding because we believed in the potential of simulation models to inform and shape decision making.
Turns out it was a good bet. Climate Interactive, the think tank subsequently established to develop this body of work, has, to date, created three outstanding simulation models, all freely available.
C-ROADS is now the award-winning computer simulator that helps people understand the long-term climate impacts of national and regional greenhouse gas emission reductions at the global level. C-ROADS has helped the world to understand the impact of the emission reduction pledges countries have proposed to the United Nations.
ALPS is an agriculture and land policy simulator that allows users to see the interactions of different policy decisions on a nation’s food system. As a national-scale model, country ministries and civil society groups can think about different development pathways to see if those policies could create their desired future.
En-ROADS is the star of the bunch, over 10 years in the making. A solutions simulation model that provides policymakers, educators, businesses, the media, and the public with the ability to explore, for themselves, the likely consequences of energy, economic growth, land use, and other policies and uncertainties, with the goal of improving their understanding. En-ROADS was presented recently at GreenBiz 2020 and there is a free webinar targeted at the business community on March 23rd. According to Climate Interactive, “The power of En-ROADS is two-fold: it is accessible and free to all, and simultaneously is grounded in cutting-edge climate, energy, and land science.”
So mark your calendars for March 23rd and take the time to immerse yourself in En-ROADS, see how it might help your business or organization understand the pathways we need to get us from here to there.
And make sure to get your tickets for GoGreen 2020! The one-day conference will be held on April 9 and will be a tribute to Earth Day’s impressive 50-year history and a beacon for an even stronger future – solutions that bring Climate Change under control while aligning business, environmental, and social interests and building a more prosperous and shared economy.