Using an Interactive Simulation Model to Educate Students on our Climate Future

screenshot1o5aC-ROADS stands for “Climate Rapid Overview and Decision Support Simulator.” It is a computer simulation tool developed by the non-profit think tank, Climate Interactive, to educate people on how to achieve climate change goals through interactive experiences. Here at COP23, C-ROADS was the focal point of the side event, “NVF: Using Decision-Maker Tools & Climate Education to Build Momentum on Climate Change.” As an award-winning computer simulator that helps people understand the long-term climate impacts of actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, C-ROADS focuses on an interactive experience that enables users actually to test their thinking on strategies for reducing emissions.

The C-ROADS simulation tool allows the user to manipulate factors similar to those that climate change negotiators face at the COP. These factors include, but are not limited to,  country categories, emissions per year, the beginning reduction year, and an annual reduction rate. The user can play around with the data, entering different figures for the respective factors and watch the temperature (by 2100) change accordingly.

Panelist Andrew Jones of Climate Interactive, creator of C-ROADS, harkened on the point that, “research shows that showing people research doesn’t work.” Jones took this mantra to create what he calls is a “visceral, interactive experiences that get people actually to test their thinking.” Panelist Florian Kapmeier, of Reutlingen University, used C-ROADS to introduce students, of many age cohorts, to the roles of climate change negotiators. Kapmeier emphasized that students thought lectures were boring and C-ROADS, through interactive learning, was a way to get them engaged. Through its use, Jones hopes to demonstrate that there is no “silver bullet” in climate change mitigation, but educating people on the effects of climate change might help build better climate decision-makers of the future.