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Using En-ROADS Simulator for Climate Policy

The En-ROADS Climate Change Solutions Simulator is a powerful tool for measuring the impacts of policy choices on climate. It’s useful for a wide range of thinkers and decision makers from students, professors, business people and journalists through national and international policy makers.

En-ROADS instantly shows the results of hypothetical changes to a large number of variables such as energy, land use, transportation, carbon removal, population growth and economic policies. You can see how the policy choices interact with each other, and how they affect a variety of climate variables from temperature change to sea level rise.

En-ROADS, developed by Climate Interactive, Ventana Systems and MIT Sloan, contains some 14,000 science-based differential equations, runs in a web browser and responds in a fraction of a second. This 20 minute introductory video provides an overview of what can be achieved and how to use the system.

Those of us who have long been concerned with climate disruption, and especially the relation between climate and energy, understand that there is a vast amount of misinformation in the public domain, impeding workable solutions.

Note that no single action can successfully mitigate climate disruption. Whether your favorite climate action involves adding wind turbines or planting trees, taxing carbon emissions or subsidising nuclear power or something else, the En Roads exercises make it clear that the climate challenge is extremely complex and there is no one “silver bullet” for it. Countries have spent billions on policies with meager, even counter-productive, results. Only a carefully thought-out combination of measures can solve the climate problem. En-ROADS can help find the errors and point to the solutions.

We used the En-ROADS simulator to produce two models. Our goal was to keep within 2°C temperature rise worldwide by the end of this century compared with preindustrial temperatures.

The models both start with the assumption that with “Business As Usual”, the end-of-century temperature will rise to 4.1°C. You will be able to see the decisions taken for each model by going to the simulator using the addresses below. If you wish, you can use each as a starting point for testing your own climate policy .

Scenario 1. Minimum dependence on technological breakthroughs. Realistic dependence on policy pressures. This simulation brings the end century temperature rise down to 2°C, and with  some political goodwill, can certainly be achieved.

•    Nuclear is increased, with only a 50% reduction in overall costs. Temp = 3.7°C
•    Very high carbon price. Temp = 3.0°C
•    Transportation electrification highly incentivized. Temp = 2.9°C
•    Methane moderately reduced. Temp = 2.5°C
•    Low economic growth . Temp = 2.4°C
•    Medium growth in carbon removal technology. Temp = 2.2°C
•    Oil highly taxed. Temp = 2.1°C
•    Buildings electrification incentivized. Temp = 2.0°C

Scenario 2. Built on the parameters of scenario 1, this scenario adds more technological risk to achieve a greater level of temperature reduction: down to 1.7°C.

•    Energy efficiency is increased for buildings and factories. Temp = 1.9°C
•    Moderate amount of reduction of deforestation. Temp = 1.8°C
•    Carbon removal potential has been upgraded to high technology. Temp = 1.7°C

Guided Assessment

En-ROADS provides two levels of a Guided Assessment – Simulating Climate Futures - for teaching. They can be downloaded (Word and PDF) to provide educators and anyone else with an exercise that can easily be shared with others. A shorter version of the assignment is also available (Word and PDF). This assignment can be given to individual students or groups. For further information and additional resources, you can consult this starting page, or contact us.


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