Climate Action Simulations (En-ROADS)– Our Experience
What is En-ROADS?
The simulation, developed by Climate Interactive, Ventana Systems, and MIT Sloan, runs on an ordinary laptop in a fraction of a second. It is available online, offers an intuitive interface, has been carefully grounded in the best available science, and has been calibrated against a wide range of existing integrated assessment, climate and energy models.
The simulator has 18 major leopards, showing the users the usage of energy from different sectors. The simulation gives the global perspective of the factors that contribute to climate change and how to reach the goal of 2°C before the end of the century.
Despite the fact that each lever has complex science behind it, the simulator is very user friendly. The user can see the impact directly by moving the levers. There are detailed explanations about the decision and the impact it could make. Diving into the simulation, the participants would find out that it is not difficult to get the temperature down to 3°C. However, trying to achieve 2° C is challenging because we are short on time to make those changes fast enough in the real world. This also showcased how realistic the model is, helping the participants to grasp the actions we can take on the matter of the topics.
Our Experience with En-ROADS
Institute on the Environment partnered with Climate Interactive and hosted workshops for educators to learn how to facilitate Climate Action Simulations (En-ROADS). The workshop helped the participants understand the process of the simulation and how to take it into the classroom.
Within the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities, IonE has hosted two simulation events. On February 25th, Beth Mercer-Taylor and Paul Imbertson (as well as Teaching Assistants Neva Hubbert and Melissa Linville acting as UN staff members) facilitated for UMN’s GCC 3011- Pathway to Renewable Energy students. On March 23rd, Beth Mercer-Taylor and Cynthia Wu facilitated another simulation event. IonE advertised this event through newsletters and other on-campus outreach to any students interested in learning about international climate negotiations. Eleven students participated from various academic backgrounds, and they quickly negotiated a temperature increase far below 1.5 degrees. Several students were interested in repeating the simulation within different student groups and on-campus events.
Beyond the U of M campus, we also hosted the simulation at high school. More than 150 students from Angela Osuji’s Chemistry classes from Washburn High School in Minneapolis. The classes participated in climate simulations on March 9th and 11th facilitated by Keerti Palanisamy with volunteers from The UMN Bridge Club and UMN GCC 3011 students.
Even though the simulation was designed for high school and college level students, we surprisingly found that even middle school students can engage in the model. In May, Britney House, an 8th grade science teacher partnered with Beth Mercer-Taylor, Troy Goodnough, and student assistants at IonE to facilitate the simulation with Morris Area High School. Even the students without a strong environmental science background were able to understand and engage with the model. They then came up with solutions to achieve the goal of 2°C with the advice from the teacher and the UMN team. The 8th graders negotiated from the perspectives of the countries and sectors they were representing. This simulation also provided the students with hands-on experience to understand the solution to climate change on a global scale.
En-Road Simulation helps the students across a wide age range to grasp the negotiations behind climate change with a global perspective. By playing different roles, the students can gain a deeper understanding of the climate perspective from each sector. Through the negotiation process, they then came up with solutions that will lead to the best outcome possible to tackle the rising temperatures.