CCS Hosts First World Climate Simulation
Published by Laurie Pender on April 12, 2017
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Text reading World Climate Simulation - your turn to negotiateFayetteville, NC– On March 11th the Go Green Initiative hosted Cumberland County’s first World Climate Simulation during day two of the 2017 Sandhills Clean Energy Summit. The World Climate Simulation is a role-playing exercise of the UN climate change negotiations for large groups, typically 8-50 people (although it has been adapted for use in groups as large as 500). Developed by Climate Interactive and MIT, this model-based game parallels the COP22 climate conference that was held in Marrakesh, Morocco in November of 2016. The simulation is unique in that it uses a real-world interactive computer model, known as C-ROADS, to rapidly analyze the results of the mock negotiations during the event. By facilitating World Climate, the Go Green Initiative had an opportunity to help students gain insights into the causes of climate change and to see the possibility of success in addressing the climate challenge. Cumberland County’s simulation became the latest of 603 events held in 71 countries with over 30,505 participants as of March 13, 2017.

During the simulation students from the Douglas Byrd Academy of Green Technology played world leaders from six varying world regions who set out to reach a global agreement to reduce CO2 emissions enough to limit global warming to 2°C by 2100. Guided by the UN Secretary General (Jonathan Frantz, Social Studies Curriculum Specialist) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Technical Lead (Scott Grumelot, Science Curriculum Specialist), delegates were pushed to explore the science and geopolitics of international agreements on climate change. They started by picking a year to cap emissions growth, a year to start reducing emissions, and determining how fast they will reduce. A representative from each region then presented their proposal to the General Assembly while the UNEP Technical Lead simultaneously entered the data into the C-ROADS model.

After hearing proposal speeches from each group, seeing the recalculated emissions lines, and discussing what temperature would result from their proposed actions the delegates reassessed their proposals accordingly; only this time a Fossil Fuel Lobbyist (Scott Shuford, Fayetteville Planning & Code Enforcement Services Director) and an Eco-Activist (Gloria Lengel, Go Green Initiative) were added to the mix.

This brought a different perspective to the simulation and a real-world dynamic to the feasibility of deforestation measures, afforestation efforts, and global monetary contributions to fight climate change.

After two rounds of negotiations and presentations, students found t, at even when they created a scenario where carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions were roughly flat, the temperature in the atmosphere continued to rise. As counterintuitive as this may seem the data clearly pointed to the drastic impact reducing emissions sooner than later had on global temperatures.

 

Graph of Fossil Fuel Emissions

Fig. 1 The final results of this year’s simulation came close to the goal of 2 degrees at 2.1 degrees Celsius increase in global temperature by 2100.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

After a fierce day of negotiations students then headed to the main auditorium of the Clean Energy Summit where they closed out the event by presenting their findings and briefing the audience on the experience they had participating in the World Climate Simulation and some of the lessons they learned.

On all accounts, the World Climate Simulation was a resounding success and plans are already in the works for Cumberland County’s second World Climate Simulation in partnership with Cumberland County Schools, the Go Green Initiative, and Sustainable Sandhills.

Contributed by: Hunter DeSario

        
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