The En-ROADS Opportunity

En-ROADS is a free, user-friendly modeling program that educators, policymakers, and citizen advocates can use to understand how the climate system will respond to policy decisions. It is based on the best available science and relies on the same state-of-the-art computational methods that climate scientists use in their research. En-ROADS is valuable because it supports engaging and thoughtful dialogue, which leads to greater understanding of the climate problem, thus serving as a catalyst for action. Advocates can access En-ROADS through a common web server and have the opportunity to become designated En-ROADS Climate Ambassadors by completing a short training program.[1] Tens of thousands of people, including a number of US lawmakers, have already participated in En-ROADS climate workshops.

En-ROADS seminars can be run as either interactive workshops or role-playing games in which different groups assume identities as government and business leaders. Almost anyone who dives into En-ROADS is certain to learn a great deal about how the Earth climate system is affected by human activities in energy production, transportation, agriculture, and all other economic sectors

A typical workshop begins with a projection of how the climate will evolve through the year 2100 if the world follows business-as-usual trends. Participants are then invited to make suggestions for new policies, and the program returns information about how various aspects of the climate system are altered. After some familiarity with the program has been gained, the facilitator may challenge the audience to see what it takes to limit global temperature increase in 2100 to 2ÂșC. This exercise is particularly useful because it reveals that policies are not independent of each other but generate different outcomes depending on what else is already being done. Participants discover that there is no silver bullet to solve climate change and are able to learn why some interventions produce larger or smaller gains than they had anticipated.

En-ROADS models the global climate and energy system, but the intention is to gain insights in order to put policies into effect locally. Seminars thus often close with reflections and invitations to look at how the workshop experience can inspire new actions or shift priorities for what should be done.

[1] To access the En-ROADS simulator, go to https://www.climateinteractive.org/tools/en-roads/. For the En-ROADS Climate Ambassador program, see https://www.climateinteractive.org/tools/en-roads/en-roads-ambassador-program/.