A roleplay to face the climate crisis

Imagine that you are a politician in a developed country or maybe a member of a clean tech company. What actions would you propose to help the world and stop the average global temperature from rising above 1.5°C? This is what we did in the morning of the 30th November at the International Conference of Youth on Climate change (COY15) that is taking place in Madrid from the 29th November to the 1st December 2019.

Climate Action Simulation is the name of the workshop where we got to use the program “EnRoads”, developed by the organizations “Climate interactive” and “Climates”.

This platform allows users to roleplay a negotiation of a climate agreement and to pretend to represent developed countries, clean tech, land, agriculture and forestry, climate justice hawks, developing countries, conventional energy, industry and commerce or emerging countries. In the first round, each group has the chance to present an action that they think will help to solve the climate issue. By introducing the suggested action in the program it is possible to see the difference that it made at the global level.

In the second round, the groups should negotiate between each other to agree on certain proposals. The goal of the roleplay is to limit the level of global temperature rise to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. Through many graphs that take into account dozens of variables (population growth, economic growth, energy efficiency, greenhouse gasses emissions, carbon taxes, use of coal, oil, gas and renewable energies, etc.) it is possible to evaluate the true impact of that action.
Some of the actions presented were:

Making fossil fuels pay high taxes that will be used to research and develop new “zero-carbon” energy sources. This proposal had a very big impact on our simulation, since it made the temperature change from +4.1ºC to +3.5ºC.
Promoting afforestation in developing countries (50% of the usable territory). This action surprisingly had a very little impact on global temperature; the reason behind this consequence is that the carbon capture only happens when trees are over 40 years old, and therefore it takes long time to incite a positive outcome.

Some actions were negative, since they made temperature increase. For example, moderating economic growth made global temperature change from +1.8ºC to +1.9ºC because of the fact that population growth that is strictly related to the economic sphere.

In the end, we realized that the necessary efforts to stop climate change are extremely difficult to achieve and that they require the collaboration of all stakeholders and interested parties. Even though the actions with bigger impacts are global, there are still things we can do to change the current situation. For example, positive actions could be supporting political candidates who make efforts for climate justice, reducing red meat consumption, considering where our money really go and what type of companies we are indirectly supporting.

This experience has been very useful since we understood the “big picture” and the real effects of our actions. The program “EnRoads” will be released publicly the 3rd December at Conference of the United Nations on Climate Change (COP25).

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