En-ROADS is fun (and depressing) to explore. Spoiler Warning: The sheer range of combined actions required to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius is quickly becoming apparent. There is no single solution. Users can enter any combination of scenarios, from carbon prices to deforestation to electric vehicles to the abolition of fossil fuel subsidies, and instantly visualize how these solutions affect outcomes such as future warming and sea level rise.
Haven’t you completely kept the temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius, or even 2 degrees Celsius? Try again, except to replace EV with highly subsidized renewable energy or reduce economic or population growth. En-ROADS reveals which policies and strategies are likely to have the greatest impact. Run the simulation yourself, adapting climate strategies, or have fun and invite your friends to discuss which strategies global leaders should prioritize while you shout at real-world negotiations on newscasts.
With En-ROADS, you can visualize the lost land area rising sea levels and explore global flood risk maps. You can identify which species are losing range due to climate change and where. You can calculate the estimated decline in crop yield or increased mortality as a result of higher temperatures. This is significant in areas that have historically never needed air conditioning and that they see record deaths caused by heat, such as the Northwest Pacific and British Columbia.
Play your own UN climate summit
If you’re more interested in the nuances of high-stakes negotiations and climate justice, check out C-ROADS. Individuals can run the online simulation, but it’s more fun play a simulated United Nations climate summit. Climate Interactive provides resources for facilitators and hosting materials. Groups can represent developed and developing countries in broad categories, or if you have multiple players, you can play a game from six regions and represent the United States, the European Union, China, India, other developed countries and other developing countries. You can also add representatives for climate activists, fossil fuel lobbyists, journalists, and the United States Climate Alliance.
My college-level students participate in fake UN climate negotiations to help them understand the complexity of real-world negotiations and gain a more tangible understanding of the impact of possible climate action. Student groups receive guidance on the real climate or financial impacts faced by their represented country or stakeholder group and what they need to negotiate, and are tasked with proposing climate solutions that their group is willing to take.
To make role-playing more realistic, students from low island countries are required to sit on the floor in the back of the room, while students from rich business groups or developed countries are given a superior position with stylish chairs, snacks and special treatment in front of the classroom.
It is inspiring to see my students accept their country or group of stakeholders. They would have secret conversations in the hallways, bribe other groups, passionately represent their case to the whole class, do everything they could to defend their proposals or the urgency of their situation. Some have decided to abandon negotiations. I entered their suggestions in the C-ROADS climate simulator and the tool immediately calculated whether the suggestions were enough to warm up below 1.5 degrees or 2 degrees Celsius. When cumulative commitments failed to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius (which they always did), students representing island nations were covered in tarpaulins to represent that their islands were no longer habitable due to rising sea levels.