Climate Action – the game

From the UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL and the “SIMCITY beat them to it six years ago” department comes news of a climate role-playing game, where you get to be a U.N. delegate going to COP conferences, complete with a buffet. What kid could resist that?

Screencap from a World Climate Game Day – video below

A graphic prepared by MIT to cater to kids:

Is the key to sparking climate action a game?

81 percent of participants in a role play simulation increased motivation to combat climate change, regardless of political orientation

Research published by PLOS ONE found that 81 percent of participants in the World Climate Simulation, a role-playing game of the UN climate talks, showed increased motivation to combat climate change, even among Americans who are free market proponents, a belief strongly linked to denial of human-caused climate change in the United States.

Prof. Juliette Rooney-Varga of the UMass Lowell Climate Change Initiative led the research into how the game affected participants’ beliefs, emotional responses, and intent to take action on climate change. The study examined how World Climate affected more than 2,000 participants from eight countries and four continents, ranging from middle school students to CEOs. Across this diverse population, and regardless of political orientation, cultural identity, age, or gender, participation in World Climate was associated with increased understanding of climate change science, a greater sense of urgency and hope, and increased motivation to learn and do more about climate change. The more people learned through the game, the more their sense of urgency increased. As Rooney-Varga explains, “it was this increased sense of urgency, not knowledge, that was key to sparking motivation to act.”

The researchers also found that the game reaches people outside the traditional climate change “choir,” including free-market proponents and people who knew and cared little about climate change before participating. In fact, these people experienced greater gains in knowledge, urgency, and motivation to act. This finding is particularly exciting given the failure of many prior climate change communication efforts to reach across the political spectrum and to engage people who are not concerned about the issue. The study relied on statistical analysis of surveys that participants completed before and after experiencing World Climate.

The World Climate game is “an engaging, social experience grounded in the best available climate science,” comments Rooney-Varga. Participants take on the roles of national delegates to the UN climate change negotiations and are charged with creating a global agreement that successfully mitigates climate change. As in the real negotiations, each delegation offers policies for their greenhouse gas emissions. The developed nations pledge contributions to the Green Climate Fund to help developing nations cut their emissions and adapt to change; the developing nations specify how much they need to do so. Their decisions are then entered into the climate policy computer model, C-ROADS, which has been used to support the real negotiations, giving participants immediate feedback on the expected climate impacts of their decisions. First round results usually fall short, showing everyone the likely harm to their prosperity, health and welfare. Participants then negotiate again, using C-ROADS to explore the consequences of more ambitious emission cuts.

World Climate is designed for ease of use. As of July 2018, more than 43,000 people in 78 countries around the world have participated in it. The simulation has been reviewed by independent educators and scientists, found to support national science education standards in the US, and designated as an official resource for schools in France, Germany, and South Korea.

Co-author, Prof. John Sterman of MIT Sloan School of Management, notes that “research shows that showing people research doesn’t work. World Climate works because it enables people to express their own views, explore their own proposals and thus learn for themselves what the likely impacts will be.”

Dr. Rooney-Varga of UMass Lowell adds, “For most of human history experience has been our best teacher, enabling us to understand the world around us while stimulating emotions–fear, anger, worry, hope–that drive us to act. The big question for climate change communication is: how can we build the knowledge and emotions that drive informed action without real-life experience which, in the case of climate change, will only come too late? The answer appears to be simulated experience.”

Co-authors Eduardo Fracassi and Florian Kapmeier have used World Climate extensively across South America and Europe. Fracassi has seen World Climate inspire “life-changing insights,” with many participants “embracing projects that reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the real world and taking steps to protect people from future climate risks.” Kapmeier shared the simulation with the Germany Ministry of Education, which designated World Climate as an official resource for German high schools. As Kapmeier explains, the German government “realized that education is a key means to move climate policy forward” and “appreciates that the C-ROADS climate model in World Climate is used by actual policymakers.”

Co-author Andrew Jones of Climate Interactive sees relevance for climate communication more generally: “Our findings may be useful to anyone who is engaging others on climate action. It suggests three key ingredients: information grounded in solid science, an experience that helps people feel for themselves, on their own terms, and social interaction arising from conversation with their peers.”

###

The paper: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0202877

Combining role-play with interactive simulation to motivate informed climate action: Evidence from the World Climate simulation

Abstract

Climate change communication efforts grounded in the information deficit model have largely failed to close the gap between scientific and public understanding of the risks posed by climate change. In response, simulations have been proposed to enable people to learn for themselves about this complex and politically charged topic. Here we assess the impact of a widely-used simulation, World Climate, which combines a socially and emotionally engaging role-play with interactive exploration of climate change science through the C-ROADS climate simulation model. Participants take on the roles of delegates to the UN climate negotiations and are challenged to create an agreement that meets international climate goals. Their decisions are entered into C-ROADS, which provides immediate feedback about expected global climate impacts, enabling them to learn about climate change while experiencing the social dynamics of negotiations. We assess the impact of World Climate by analyzing pre- and post-survey results from >2,000 participants in 39 sessions in eight nations. We find statistically significant gains in three areas: (i) knowledge of climate change causes, dynamics and impacts; (ii) affective engagement including greater feelings of urgency and hope; and (iii) a desire to learn and do more about climate change. Contrary to the deficit model, gains in urgency were associated with gains in participants’ desire to learn more and intent to act, while gains in climate knowledge were not. Gains were just as strong among American participants who oppose government regulation of free markets–a political ideology that has been linked to climate change denial in the US–suggesting the simulation’s potential to reach across political divides. The results indicate that World Climate offers a climate change communication tool that enables people to learn and feel for themselves, which together have the potential to motivate action informed by science.

Advertisements

89 thoughts on “Climate Action – the game

    • Dr. Rooney-Varga of UMass Lowell adds, “For most of human history experience has been our best teacher, enabling us to understand the world around us while stimulating emotions–fear, anger, worry, hope–that drive us to act.

      Oh, the (tragic) irony!

      • That is a particularly loony statement….”For most of human history experience has been our best teacher,…” so what is our best teacher now? Computer models… (of the climate)? and “emotions drive us to act”, do they? What about logic, intelligence, the philosophy of science Docter flaming Roony-Varga?

      • Experience isn’t always the best teacher. Our minds are set to look for patterns, and in a primitive world this works moderately well. Pattern: you see a lion, it will chase you and try to eat you – see your friends eaten a few times and you stay away from lions.

        However this pattern recognition can be fooled by random probability clustering events, and seeing patterns in random data. This is epitomized by “celebrities die in threes” and also being able to pick out “head and shoulders” in a stock trend line. It is random data, but our minds seek to place a pattern on them.

        • Experience and Pattern Recognition, are not the same thing.

          Perceiving a pattern in random data, which doesn’t have a real impact on your life, can produce some strange beliefs, but is largely meaningless.

          Experience is the result of discovering what happens, after you take action on the basis of that perceived pattern.

          You might think that you see a pattern in the spinning of a Roulette Wheel, but after you lose your life savings, you won’t be so inclined to believe that the next apparent pattern you see in it, is actually real.

          • Pattern recognition from random data has led in the past to witch trials, virgin sacrifices, and cargo cults. It isn’t largely meaningless – it can hurt. There are more minor ways you could “hurt” yourself. You get sick three times eating a certain something. You start avoiding it, even though the illness was a coincidence.

            The sacrifice thing goes like this – lets sacrifice a virgin to appease the crop god. Hey it worked, good harvest this year. They do it 3 years in a row and it still works. 4th year doesn’t work, so they assume the “gods” want more – so they double down and do two virgins, then wow crops are good again. That is finding a pattern in random data as well. We all get fooled all the time. You are right 99% of the time it is relatively harmless, but as I said, sometimes it can hurt.

          • It would seem that you missed that I was qualifying, that its meaningless when the random data has no real impact on your life.

            However the example you just cited, was a function of the lack of an alternative explanation, rather than pattern recognition.

            It was a common belief throughout the ancient world, that all adverse environmental conditions were a manifestation of divine retribution; not simply misfortune timed by providence as a lesson, but the direct anger of the gods.

            Now that it is understood that lightening storms and droughts are necessary functions of the atmospheric regulatory system, religiously minded individuals might beseech their god’s blessings for favorable weather, but they no longer believe that every thunderclap means that they must have sinned in some unknown manner.

            No assumption of guilt, no human sacrifices needed, whether they seem to work for a time or not.

        • Marque: we’re smarter than to fear the lion because of ‘pattern recognition’. Even the antelope doesnt learn by being eaten. He responds to aggressive menacing looks, sounds and behavior and takes flight if he hears a tree branch fall. Even defenceless creatures use these universal things for protection, too. A butterfly has big “eyes” on his wings and opens his wings wide to give a predator second thoughts. Human brains supersede all this. The lion, the mammoth had good reason to fear us!

          Always missing from discussions of pattern recognition and “correlation doesn’t mean causation” is the uber-important fact that if there is no correlation, there is NO causation! That is to say, pattern recognition is all important. Random spurious patterns can fool us and we shouldnt jump to conclusions, but we should certainly investigate and test it.

    • Yes, it is depressing to watch.

      By our natures we are social beings with a coalitional instinct. When you put a group into a situation where the “right answer” is unambiguous, and the implication of dissent is that you are a threat to the tribe, people radically conform and adopt almost any irrational belief system. Your example of National Socialism is one example.

      I see this at least once a week, people who I respect and know to be intelligent and successful, nevertheless spouting Climate Change propaganda that they have not bothered to analyze on their own. This whole game is based on the insight that the vast majority is ignorant of the science and can be manipulated through peer pressure to accept climate myths.

      • I raise the subject gently when it seems apropos. I say with earlier severe temperature projections, frequency of storms, floods, droughts, etc. turning out to have been greatly overestimated, many scientists are coming to believe that it may not be so serious after all. I mention the miraculous greening of the planet and the doubling of harvests on lesser acreages that are causing changes in thinking on the value of increased”Carbon” (CO2) in the atmosphere. Some show positive interest, the Birkenstocked ladies and gentlemen, not so much!

  1. A little off topic however, with all the political brow bashing going here in Australia over energy prices, the UK has just announced price caps on energy prices. Crazy stuff going on.

    • Wage and price controls only work in the short run. After that you enter Zimbabwe or Venezuela territory. Is the UK ready to elect Jeremy Corbin now and hasten the road to communism? This action of price controls I guess is a test run for communism. If the UK doesnt want communism Hint: get rid of all laws regulating CO2.

      • I am not sure there are wage/price controls in Aus and the UK. What I do know is wage increases are stalled, interest rates are on the rise, property prices are out of reach of most locals and energy prices are on the up (Which is passed down the chain, food, transport etc etc) in both countries.

          • I bemoan the apparent change in the happy-go-lucky, iconoclastic character of the Ozzies such as I met in the early 1960s wandering around Europe giving Europeans heartburn. They were a fun, incorrigible bunch. I never thought these people could ever be fleeced and fenced. Whatever happened? There must be a few 75-80 yearolds left, sidelined by ineligibility and disinclination for membership in the “Diversity” klatch.

        • These are all problems caused by government, and the solution is to get government out of the way of the economy.
          More government is never the solution to problems caused by government.

          • Yet people quite consistently vote for more government. Trump may be the exception, but even many senators and representatives are all for more and more government. They are sent back all the time. It’s hard to argue that people don’t want the nanny state when they keep asking for it.

  2. Asian woman in group ‘negotiating’ “You Americans get a grip you need to talk to us”.
    I wonder what she’d like to talk to Americans about; any guesses?

  3. The German Nazis had their Hitler Youth. They were the Deutsches Jungvolk in der Hitler Jugend or “DJ”, also “DJV” for for male youths aged 14 to 18, and their Bund Deutsche Mädel or “BDM” for girls 14 to 18.

    That concept has long been appreciated by societies since ancient Mesopotamia; indoctrinate them young in their teens before they have a chance to become aware of the manipulation. Their higher brain functions of executive control over cognitive functions will not fully mature until the early 20’s. As such they have few of the ethical bounds or moral maturity to understand the consequences of their actions. Sadly, It is also why Armies are historically made up of 18-22 year old males, amped-up, ready to charge an enemy machine gun line with bayonets.

    Today’s climate crusader youth are essentially doing the same. They are being taught to charge head-long into the reality of actual climate armed with a rubber climate change knife, handed to them by manipulators. Nature loves to eat fools.

  4. There has been a couple of cases recently where young, computer gamer’s, have taken lethal action on themselves and others for losing a game. Is this a goal?

  5. Won’t there be chidren who try to cause the “negotiations” to implode , and the climate model to produce runaway warming?

    Perhaps the best answer is another version that focuses on consequent power cuts, reduced standards of living and riot and revolution that results from trying to take us back to the Stone Age. It could offer ways out through permitting fracking and developing nuclear.

    • Shouldn’t there be a Bjorn Lomborg button on the computer that you have to push once you input your action? That button should cause a large panel to light up that flashes the following message: CONGRSTULATIONS! Your actions will reduce global temperature by 0.00013 degrees!

      • These Greenalists are stupid, or at least the Useful Idiots are! They want Earth to return to being out of influence of Human activity, so they come up with all sorts wacky schemes to put various “pollutants” into the atmosphere, to prevent Global Warming, which is still not off the perfectly natural occurrance agenda! Their logic is irrational!

  6. I was an official Country Representative to a United Nations/IAEA meeting in Vienna, Austria. What I saw by the UN/IAEA staff on a daily basis definitely was not a childrens game. It was Weinstein writ large. It was corruption and greed on an immense scale. Childrens Game? Maybe for future Swamp Creatures.

  7. Garbage in, garbage out. “Dr. Rooney-Varga of UMass Lowell adds … how can we build the knowledge and emotions that drive informed action without real-life experience which, in the case of climate change, will only come too late? The answer appears to be simulated experience.” Rubbish. Go outside. Watch a thunderstorm to see what the atmosphere does naturally with heat from the surface.

    • According to the alarmists, we will have passed the point of no return long before any of these kids are old enough to do anything about CO2 emissions.

      So what’s the point?

    • “Go outside. Watch a thunderstorm to see what the atmosphere does naturally with heat from the surface.”

      In their case, preferably holding a long steel rod in each hand, around 4-6ft should do it!

  8. but inbuilt co2 fear/loathing as the start point
    pretty much negates its worth
    if fear works then thats what they use
    Ive reached indifference to most of what theyre pushing
    the odd item gets me angry, usually the really grandiose threat claims

  9. The proof that Gorebal Warming is a scientific blunder, if not outright fraud… “Climate change communication” has become an actual field of academia.

    • Academia is and has been, for the past 65 years or longer, undergoing a decline into money grubbing/politics. I am certain that this is not a new phenomenon but merely different in its causes and direction. Historically and even now, in certain cultures and geographic areas,
      religion has been a driver of the direction of academia though money and politics and religion are/were intertwined in those places and cultures I am sure. I use 65 years as that is the period of my experience with the educational system one way or another.

  10. I’d like to see a version of the game where no matter what actions mankind takes, nothing significant happens to the climate. It just continues to plod along as before. But if those playing the game open the door to socialism, they get mass starvation.

  11. I hope the buffet offers organic, sustainable, vegetarian, vegan food only. If not: back to the drawing board (and from there straightaway to midden heap).

  12. I like the graphic. Viewed from a distance it seems to illustrate the basic problem of the AGW theory: the large gap between models and observations …..

  13. Following Lord Bertrand Russell’s recipe :

    In his 1931 book, The Scientific Outlook, Bertrand Russell says, ‘Ordinary men and women will be expected to be docile, industrious, punctual, thoughtless, and contented. Of these qualities probably contentment will be considered the most important. In order to produce it, all the researches of psycho-analysis, behaviourism, and biochemistry will be brought into play . . . . All the boys and girls will learn from an early age to be what is called ‘co-operative,’ i.e., to do exactly what everybody is doing.

    Initiative will be discouraged in these children, and insubordination, without being punished, will be scientifically trained out of them.’ For the children chosen to be among the scientific ruling class, education was to be quite different. ‘Except for the one matter of loyalty to the world State and to their own order,’ Russell explained, ‘members of the governing class will be encouraged to be adventurous and full of initiative. It will be recognized that it is their business to improve scientific technique, and to keep the manual workers contented by means of continual new amusements’.”

  14. The entire “Science is Settled” narrative if straight from Bertrand Russell’s “Systems Analysis” applied to climate modelling, logic parading as reality instead of instead of physical principles. This together with the “cooperative” agenda of Russell , see below, is quite revealing.

  15. Yes, go after the ones who don’t pay the bills and the taxes. Strategically and mathematically that is a Pareto optimal move.

    • Are they the politicians? We’ve had the expenses scandal here in the UK for MPs, then we had the expenses scandall of the Euro MEPs, I can’t believe that your Senators & Representatives (if you’re from US) aren’t above a little fiddling!

  16. “Climate change communication efforts grounded in the information deficit model have largely failed to close the gap between scientific and public understanding of the risks posed by climate change.”

    If the risks were real, not imagined, maybe more people would take notice.

  17. Ah, nothing says fun more than a “game” which uses pseudoscience, propaganda, and Appeals to Emotion to trick the young and the intellectually lazy and dull into Believing what you want them to.

  18. information grounded in solid science
    that would be solid as in a structure where the atoms are very loosely bond together and where it does not take much energy to release these bonds . That type of ‘solid ‘

  19. I Have the rules for this game.

    ‘Each player selects a token then moves around the board on their turn by rolling two dice.
    These tokens have special rules –
    The car rolls one dice because it is electric and doesn’t have the range.
    The iron is a tiny little token, because EU regulations
    The Top hat owns the bondoogle Rentseeker company and is not allowed to buy property.

    Each player can buy a property they land (except the top hat) on and must pay rent if they land on an owned property. The first player to land on the Utility company must buy it, the money is paid to the top hat, not the bank.

    Rents are printed on the cards except the Utility company. Two dice are rolled and x 100. this is paid to the bondoogle rentseeker company, not the utility company.

    Chance cards. The top hat and the EV are give fifteen get out of jail free cards at the start of the game’

      • BoonDopoly.
        And instead of ‘free parking’ there is ‘the sandpit’
        RyanS has to stay there the whole game if he lands there. Because the average brain has more cells than a beach has grains of sand.
        Some people just get a smaller beach

  20. The cartoon graph looks amazingly like “Computer Model Projected warming” in brown and “actual temperature data” in cyan.

  21. Once one accepts the proposition that reality is a flexible concept and that what you believe is as or more important than what observation demonstrates to be true, you can pretty much build an entire imaginary universe out of nothing. And, unfortunately with today’s academic standards, one can go on to build an entire academic career on the drivel that incubates in the undisciplined mind of pseudoscience.

  22. Closer to home I have a suspicion that these “education” projects are federally government funded directly or indirectly to normally (previously?) competent areas of the university. The University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology put out a somewhat related document for the kiddies (no apparent smorgasbord) which had a couple of serious geological errors independent of the climate advocacy. I posted this but never researched it further and don’t have the link handy. As far as I can tell the Bureau is still doing real geology.

    Programs of this sort may have economic or sociological parts which may not be of much interest to, or direction by, the scientific staff, therefore produced by junior staff who don’t understand advocacy or the subject matter. I am going to speculate further that these may be financial burdens to the university which may contribute to inadequate oversight. They would also be handed to those with interest in advocacy.

    “The results indicate that World Climate offers a climate change communication tool that enables people to learn and feel for themselves, which together have the potential to motivate action informed by science.” This is the last line of the abstract, the PLOS study, which is clearly not science, nevertheless was NSF “supported.”

  23. It is essential for parents to be a constant antidote to the constant diabolical social engineering going on in our schools. We also have to enrich the much degraded curriculum. I teach my grandson math and elementary physics and chemistry, explain how things work and ask him to try to explain things he sees.

    I tell him that knowledge marches on and many things I was taught turned out to be wrong or partially wrong and to keep an open mind about it all. I used examples from history- geocentric theory, phlogiston, continental drift and the certainty and tyranny of the status quo on the subject. I discussed alarmist climate and information, history and data that indicate the alarm is greatly overblown (Ice Ages, MWP, Greenland farming, Scottish wine industry, LIA, the Thames, the Bosphorus and New York Harbor freezing over), all without accompanying help from changes in CO2. Unfortunately in this Neo-Medieval world, I’ve had to caution him to give the “right” answers at school and dont argue about it.

  24. “it was this increased sense of urgency, not knowledge, that was key to sparking motivation to act.”

    Ah, the power of brainwashing propaganda, Goebells was right all along!

  25. The brainwashing starts early.

    I still remember all the leftist uproar over reading primers like “Janet and Mark’, because they portrayed a nuclear family – the called it ‘social engineering’ back then.

    Yet today…

  26. Quite a Freudian graphic. The children are compressed and constrained, imprisoned under the curved boilerplate of climate Hell. Those beneath the most constraining plate have given in. Those trying to escape find themselves in the double jaws of the beast having their breath squeezed out, shouting for help. The PC mix is there, and in keeping with the sеlf-lоатнiиg gцilт-гiddeи соlогlеss folk, they are the majority of the ones who have given up.

  27. The conspicuous flaw here is that theory is still not supported factually by the science. The game is totally dependent on ‘buying in’ to the assumption that man’s production of CO2 is the climate-change control knob. Get real!

  28. Maybe we need a game where children try to tell us how much warmer a room is. I doubt any of them can detect anything under 5 degrees. Then look at the graph and ask how we are going to affected.

    Also, maybe a game where we learn about optics and how the “y” scale of a graph can turn a minor problem into a major one by magically using tiny units for change.

  29. I particularly like this sentence.

    Co-author, Prof. John Sterman of MIT Sloan School of Management, notes that “research shows that showing people research doesn’t work.”

    Self-awareness much? I guess this passes for academic research today.

    • Well, if they show me a John Cook research paper; I’d just laugh myself off the chair.
      If they show me a Lewandowski paper; I’d laugh for an hour and bring the building down.

      So yea, it depends on what they show, and if it shows what they think it does.

      For any research I do, I always want minimum three sources to evaluate what I think I know. If I’m researching history, or programming my midi-keyboard; I start with three books or web sources and start with that. Then I’ve got a fighting chance to go in the right direction.

  30. Full grown adults playing the model UN game, how childishly realistic. If only Al Gore could make enough money from this kind of thing to buy a big beach-front mansion, wouldn’t that be nice. Oh, wait.

  31. Having designed role playing games, both in a graduate level management course and in my profession, the only way to get reliable result is to ensure that it is objective, providing everyone with accurate and complete information, includes all the players, and is not driven by the facilitator. Contrary to what they tried to say, that is not what happened in this “experiment.”

  32. OT but a slightly related heads up: Tesla shares crashed 8% on Friday as two of its senior executives quit, just hours after the electric carmaker’s chief executive Elon Musk sparked concern by smoking marijuana on a live web show.

    The company’s head of accounting, Dave Morton, and head of human resources, Gaby Toledano, said they were leaving the company, which has been placed at the centre of a string of controversies by its maverick CEO.

    Morton, who joined the company just one month ago, said he was leaving because “the level of public attention placed on the company, as well as the pace within the company, have exceeded my expectations”.

  33. My first impression was, “Wow, look at all that good-looking food distracting the mock delegates from thinking about what they are doing!”

    I am a staunch proponent of NEVER — and I mean NEVER — mixing serious business with seriously good food. Hence, I have never understood the concept of a “business lunch” or any “business” conducted anywhere near food. It’s a stupid, stupid concept, if you really take your business seriously.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *