Climate Change Negotiations Game
Launched on August 20th at the White House, the World Climate Exercise provides resources that let you confidently lead people in thought-provoking games that simulate the United Nations climate talks. As world leaders continue these vitally important talks into the future, people everywhere must engage in acts of leadership on climate change. You can build awareness of the greatest challenge facing humanity by helping people—your team, your friends, your colleagues, anyone—experience what it’s like to negotiate a climate deal.
World Climate enables participants to experience the dynamics that emerge as nations negotiate a global agreement on climate change and to develop a deeper understanding of how to address climate change. The exercise is framed by current climate change science, through the interactive C-ROADS computer simulation, enabling participants to find out how their decisions impact the global climate system in real-time.
How Does World Climate Work?
World Climate is a simplified international climate change negotiations meeting. 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 addresses climate change (e.g., to limit warming to 2˚C above preindustrial times by 2100).
Exercises vary in length, but most run from 1-3 hours.
World Climate is:
- Suitable for students from middle school to graduate school, community and religious groups, executive leaders and office workers, scientists, and everyone in between
- Interactive and experiential
- Mediated by an easy-to-use computer simulation
- Free of charge, with all materials ready to download below
2 ways you can get started with World Climate
1) Sign up for the World Climate Project and stay posted on the latest announcements:
2) Plan a World Climate event!
Then, run an event. And let us know before and/or after about it so you can inspire others and contribute to the community’s learning. Click below to put your event on the map below!
World Climate Events 2015-2016
293 events held in 48 countries with 11,825 participants as of January 20, 2016
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 of from all around the world and from all walks of life. Our approach to engender more conversation and action is to create an experience where people put themselves in the shoes of world leaders making decisions on climate change. In a 2-3 hour event they 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. Participating in this experience has been transformative for many.
Participants in a World Climate simulation quickly learn the policy-relevant science of climate change, viscerally experience the geopolitical and social dynamics of climate negotiations, and personally engage in crafting a solution, while taking a realistic look at the scale of changes ahead as we shift to a low-carbon global economy.
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 meet the 2°C goal
- 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, former Secretary of State George Schultz, university presidents, European Union policymakers, oil executives, the U.S. Forest Service, members of The Climate Group, MIT Executive MBA students, and countless classrooms from high schools to universities. The international youth think tank CliMates even runs the campaign COPinMyCity for young people around the world to lead World Climate in their communities and link efforts to advance international climate policy.
Dr. Peter Senge debriefing World Climate exercise
Feedback we’ve heard
“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
“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
“All the students were enthusiastic about this experience and want to do it again this year! I received a lot of positive feedback and, most importantly, several students wrote to tell me how they now want, through their studies, to fight against climate change. One student even switched his plans for college so as to pursue a degree in environmental studies.”
– Laurent Richard, mathematics teacher at the International School of Boston
“[Climate Interactive’s] software speaks numbers, not spin – and in the end it’s the numbers that count.”
– Bill McKibben, Founder, 350.org
If you have developed any additional materials or variations on World Climate we would be delighted to hear about it. Please contact us.
MIT Sloan Leading Edge
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.