Climate Change Negotiations Game
The World Climate Simulation is a role playing exercise of the UN climate change negotiations for groups. It is unique in that it uses an interactive computer model to rapidly analyze the results of the mock-negotiations during the event. All the materials and tools for World Climate are available for free and many are available in multiple languages. We encourage you to organize a World Climate Simulation yourself.
You can use the World Climate Simulation to build climate change awareness and enable people to experience some of the dynamics that emerge in the UN climate negotiations. The exercise is framed by current climate change science, using the interactive C-ROADS computer simulation which allows participants to find out how their proposed policies impact the global climate system in real-time.
How Does World Climate Work?
World Climate is a simplified international climate change negotiations meeting for large groups, typically 8-50 people (although it has been adapted for use in groups as large as 500). A facilitator leads the group, playing the role of a UN leader, while each participant plays the role of a delegate representing a specific nation, negotiating bloc, or, in some cases, an interest group. Everyone then works together in their respective roles to reach a global agreement that successfully keeps climate change well below 2˚C over preindustrial levels globally.
Simulation events vary in length, but most run 2-3 hours. Condensed versions have been run in as short as 45 minutes.
During the event participants must face the climate science, engage in the drama and tensions of global politics, test their ambitions against a climate-modeling tool used by actual climate negotiators, and then reflect on how the experience challenges their assumptions about climate action.
World Climate is suitable for, and has been used with, people from middle school to graduate school students, community and religious groups, executive leaders, scientists, and everyone in between.
Lectures are boring. Try World Climate instead.
World Climate Events 2015-2017 – click for full screen
718 events held in 74 countries with 34,032 participants as of October 6, 2017
Get started in planning a World Climate Simulation
Find the materials here.
Sign up for World Climate updates and stay posted on the latest announcements:
Join an introductory webinar to learn more and ask questions:
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Join the World Climate Community
Connect with experienced facilitators and others interested in bringinging these events to new audiences around the world.
Then register your event!
And let us know about it so you can inspire others and contribute to the community’s learning. Click below to put your event on the map!
As part of the World Climate Project, you’ll join a global network of facilitators bringing these events to new audiences around the world.
A study from Yale University found that 74% of Americans rarely, if ever, discuss climate change. These numbers are likely similar around the world and yet success on climate change requires countless actions from people worldwide and from all walks of life. Our approach to engender more conversation and action is to create a unique role playing experience where people put themselves in the shoes of world leaders making decisions on climate change. Participating in this experience has been transformative for many.
We’re assessing the impact of these learning experiences – through preliminary results from our studies we have found that 76% of students who took the workshop reported they were more likely to take action to address climate change.
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 stay well below 2°C of global warming, or even 1.5°C;
- Psychological responses to complex problems;
- Systems thinking.
As this effort expands we are continuing to evaluate the learning outcomes and impact of this experience. Learn more about our research on the impacts of World Climate.
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, a former US Secretary of State, university presidents, European Union policymakers, oil executives, the U.S. Forest Service, MIT Executive MBA students, and countless classrooms from high schools to universities. In 2015, it was featured at the White House at an event on climate change education. The international youth think tank CliMates even runs a campaign called COPinMyCity for young people around the world to lead World Climate in their communities and link efforts to advance international climate policy.
Feedback we’ve heard
“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
“World Climate gives a first hand experience to participants about how intense the real world climate change simulation is. It is amazing to see the participants dive into real character and play the role of country heads in such a genuine manner. As an Asia Regional Officer for Cop In MY City as well as World Climate Ambassador, I feel so curious every time when the pledges are entered into C- Roads and C- Learn to know what the future scenario be like in changing climate.”
– Bindu Bhandari, World Climate Ambassador, Nepal
“It was intriguing to see how the behaviours of the youth participants switched into ‘talking and acting’ as world leaders once the simulation game started. As a facilitator, I was amazed at the passion participants exhibited towards negotiating to arrive at a temperature below 2degC using C-ROADS. Reflecting on the event, it seems to me that young people understand climate better.”
-Joshua Amponsem, Green Africa Youth Organization Ghana
“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
If you have developed any additional materials or variations on World Climate we would be delighted to hear about it. Please contact us.
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. Other partners include:
Interested in partnering or supporting this effort? Contact us.