ONNA RESEARCH + DESIGN
DELFT, NL | WORLDWIDE
WORLD CLIMATE NEGOTIATION SIMULATION
World Climate is an interactive simulation of an international climate negotiation. Developed by MIT professor John Sterman and Drew Jones of Climate Interactive, this model-based game parallels the COP21 climate conference held in December 2015 in Paris.
In November 2015, 22 members of the Boston public signed up to participate in a unique event hosted by Mixed Paper at the Boston Society of Architects: a timely round of the mock-UN climate negotiations game World Climate, followed by a discussion with three professionals working to address climate change in the Boston area. We had the same goal as was posed to the real UN: make strict pledges to curb emissions in order to limit global warming to 2° C above today's temperatures.
We were proud to support game creator Climate Interactive's mission to reach 10,000 people ahead of COP21. Live tweets from the event are posted on the Mixed Paper Twitter account, @mixed_paper. Team member Lukas LaLiberté wrote a recap of the event that was posted on the Climate Interactive blog.
WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO LIMIT GLOBAL WARMING TO 2° C?
During the initial phase of the game, players assume the roles of countries around the globe: China, India, the United States, and the European Union are prominently featured. Each country or bloc is given a briefing on their priorities and limitations in addressing climate change, based on goals for near- and long-term development.
During the negotiation, each country presents their pledge to cut carbon emissions and limit global climate change. These pledges are tied to specific years, and actions, by which emissions will be curtailed. The individual pledges are then plugged into the C-ROADS model, which shows the probable trajectory of global temperature increase based on these individual contributions.
Because individual countries are acting within the confines of their own interests, pledges often fall short of achieving the goal of limiting global warming to 2°C by 2100. Therefore, global leaders must negotiate amongst each other to come up with a more aggressive plan for cutting emissions and reliance on fossil fuels - that requires cooperation and compromise by all parties.
After the first round of negotiations produced a climate warming scenario of more than 3°C, our team illustrated the impact of sea level rise on island nations by passing a blue tarp over them. The moment was poignant: the stark visual of the members of least-developed nations sitting on the floor, being covered by "water" because of our failure to sufficiently curb carbon emissions was a sobering reminder of the unjust reality many face from the impending consequences of climate change.
SPREADING CLIMATE AWARENESS.
At the end of three rounds of negotiation, despite our best efforts, we were not able to meet the goal stated by the UN. We arrived just above that important threshold at a warming scenario of 2.25°C by 2100.
While we shared the disappointment at falling short of our goal, the real lesson of the day was just how difficult it was to negotiate in order to effectively accommodate the priorities of all nations, even in this pretend scenario. The discussion was spirited, as participants embraced the countries they joined for one afternoon.
Many remarked that the nuances of climate policy were made apparent through this experience, and all reported a renewed interest in the upcoming climate talks.
Our team was honored to be featured by our alma mater, Northeastern University, in the College of Science Newspaper in November 2015.