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En-ROADS Climate Change Solutions Simulator

MIT Sloan’s Sustainability Initiative Climate Interactive

This climate simulation tool makes it intuitive to see how changes in energy, land use, agriculture, and other policies will affect Earth's projected temperature. Users move sliders on various policy actions and see immediate feedback on energy sources, emissions, and global temperature.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Simulator is complex and includes many variables, but using it can be simple - or more complex if desired.
  • Users will need understanding of energy, environmental, and social factors in order to appreciate the implications of the model outcomes.
  • Facilitator guide provides instructional support, and there are many layers of support and guidance as needed.
  • Case studies are informative and engaging.
  • Simulation of use: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Muh-eoPd3g
  • The simulator is used in this activity.
  • Teachers can watch a CLEAN webinar on how to use the En-ROADS simulator here: https://cleanet.org/clean/community/webinars/webinars.html#enroads

About the Content

  • The En-ROADS Climate Solutions Simulator is a fast, powerful climate simulation tool for understanding how we can achieve our climate goals through changes in energy, land use, consumption, agriculture, and other policies.
  • The strength of the tool is that students can instantly see the impact of a particular policy action. For example, if we quickly curtail coal, how much would that lower Earth's temperature by 2100?
  • Students can freely test out their ideas and hypotheses. How much does forestation matter? (not much) What about energy efficiency? (a lot!)
  • The tool is great for addressing the misconception that a single solution is sufficient to manage climate change. It gives a good sense for the level of global ambition needed to meaningfully reduce emissions.
  • Students are encouraged to consider the feasibility of their decisions. While it's possible to maximize every variable to minimize emissions, how likely is that? And what are the other consequences of that action?
  • Comments from expert scientist: Impressively up to date in terms of science for a resource spanning such a broad range of topics but it is slightly out of date in a couple of areas where the scientific consensus has changed recently - especially coal growth and population growth in the baseline. The underlying assumptions and references are also sometimes hard to find.

About the Pedagogy

  • There are two student activities that can be paired with the simulation tool. These activities provide some helpful framing to guide students through the simulations and to evaluate the outcomes for the economy, environment, and society.
  • There is a shorter and a longer assignment (which takes around a week to complete) and both can be found in Spanish as well as English.
  • The tool is largely based on graph reading and requires a fairly high level of quantitative skill. For more in-depth users, the default values can be re-set to specific values, for example, to dictate a certain price on carbon.
  • The tool has a lot of flexibility, which can also make it appear overwhelming for some users. Educators are advised to test out the features they're planning on using. It's not necessary to delve into every possible option!
  • The tool can also be used for policymakers, community groups, or economists.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Requires high speed internet.
  • Very easy to use and great graphics.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

This curriculum is a great addition to En-ROADS activities. It is built in partnership with Climate Interactive and The Climate Initiative with particular attention given to supporting high school educators of diverse subject expertise and classroom needs: https://climatechangeinitiative.org/education/classroom-modules/climate-impacts-and-solutions-with-en-roads/
Entered the Collection: April 2021 Last Reviewed: December 2020

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