Spreading Grounded Hope for the Climate In the Middle East With Systems Thinking and Simulations

March 25, 2015 by Andrew P. Jones

Our powerful new computer-simulation-based role-playing exercise has created a sense of possibility and empowerment for young future energy leaders in the Middle East. The Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), Climate Interactive, and Masdar Institute hosted the interactive “Grounded Hope” workshop at the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture in Abu Dhabi in March 2015.

Going into the event a participant said, “I feel stumped about the big picture — how my research on bioenergy fits at a higher level. I’m excited that system dynamics is behind all this.”

System dynamics was at the core of the event in which CCI CEO Dymphna van der Lans, playing the role of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, convened agrounded hope masdar 3 simulated gathering of global business, government, and other leaders. Workshop participants proposed actions in energy efficiency, renewable energy, economic policy, land use, and other measures. Drew Jones of Climate Interactive and Jeanne Choi of CCI calculated the temperature results in the system dynamics simulation En-ROADS to see if they had met their goal of working together to curb carbon emissions and limit the increase in global temperature to 2 degrees Celsius.

Many of the participants were drawn from the Young Future Energy Leaders Program (YFEL), a group of 100 students led by Masdar Institute to explore possibilities for the global energy transition, focusing on energy efficiency and renewable energy.

One YFEL participant at the workshop recounted, “One emotionally charged moment for me was realizing we might be wrong. It is hard for engineers and scientists to embrace uncertainty, but we have the ability to change.”

16835897025_3d8fdcb52d_zExternal evaluations of similar events have found “participation in World Climate was not only a memorable experience but also seems to have had some notable effects, such as developing a better understanding of the sociopolitical aspects of the problem and, possibly, developing a better sense of systems thinking.”

The team at Climate Interactive has been pioneering engaging cutting edge approaches to helping people see what works to address climate change and other complex challenges in our lives. In 2013, Climate Interactive was recognized as one of the top five climate think tanks in the United States.


To see more photos from this event, please visit our Flickr page.