World Climate Simulation

What is the World Climate Simulation?

The World Climate Simulation, from Climate Interactive, the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative, and the UMass Lowell Climate Change Initiative, is an in-person role-playing exercise of the UN climate change negotiations. Through the simulation, participants get to explore the necessary speed and level of action that nations must take to address global climate change. At the heart of the experience is the use of our interactive C-ROADS simulator, which is used to rapidly analyze the results of the game play. Literature shows that the World Climate Simulation game serves as an effective climate communication tool which allows for self-led learning and an increased potential for climate action.

Tens of thousands of people around the world have participated in the World Climate Simulation since its debut over a decade ago. Audiences have included Nobel Prize winning scientists, a former U.S. Secretary of State, (actual) United Nations climate negotiators, university presidents, European Union policymakers, oil executives, and countless students of all ages from over 100 countries.

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How does it work?

The World Climate Simulation game is a role-playing game premised on a fictitious international climate summit. A facilitator plays 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. Groups will work through rounds negotiating amongst themselves and with other teams to propose climate pledges, and the facilitator will use the C-ROADS simulator to calculate and analyze the impact of each group’s actions as they add up. Everyone then works together to reach a global agreement that successfully keeps climate change well below 2˚C and aims to stay within 1.5˚C, the international goals formally recognized in the Paris climate agreement. During the event participants 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 and global equity.

World Climate works best for groups of 8-50 people (although it has been adapted for as many as 500), and can be run online or in-person. The game typically runs for 2-3 hours in length but has been run in as short as 45 minutes before. It is designed to be played for a wide range of audiences—from high school students and community members to industry professionals and policymakers. All the materials and tools for the game are available for free in multiple languages.

Leading the Game

Anyone with enough interest and dedication can learn to lead the World Climate Simulation game. People of many ages, backgrounds, and sets of expertise run the game in diverse environments—from Fortune 500 boardrooms to university classrooms.

You can learn how to run the World Climate Simulation by exploring our World Climate training plan. Get started today!

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We offer a variety of materials that support facilitation and organization of the World Climate Simulation game—from training guides, to tutorial videos, to flyers that advertise your event. Our materials are:

  • Free and open-access
  • Adaptable to a wide range of audiences
  • Offered in a variety of languages
  • Accompanied by first-rate user support through our online help desk and comprehensive FAQ database
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Connect with Facilitators

Do you have a specific audience who you believe could greatly benefit from experiencing World Climate, but aren’t able to facilitate yourself? Or do you have questions about how best to lead an event? Explore our support page to learn from others and contact us.

Register an Event

Have you run the World Climate Simulation game or have one planned? Great! Make sure to register your event below. Registering your event allows us to share future updates to the materials and connects you to our global community.

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