The Copenhagen Climate Exercise is a role-playing climate simulation designed by MIT and Sustainability Institute that gives groups from 10-60 an experience of reaching a global agreement to mitigate climate change.
Set up as a highly simplified "Copenhagen-2009-like" U.N. meeting, participants play the role of delegates from three regions of the world and work together to reach a global accord that meets the group's goal for CO2 levels. A ”UN Secretary General” receives pledges from three different "blocs", asks her or his technical staff to simulate them in the "C-ROADS" climate simulation (or its simpler version, "C-Learn"), and informs delegates of results, often sending them back for another round of debate, strategizing, and collaboration.
Exercises run from 1.5-3 hours.
Over the past year, Drew Jones of Sustainability Institute and John Sterman of MIT have run the policy exercise for European business leaders in Greenland, European Union government policymakers, oil executives, the US Forest Service, members of The Climate Group, and students at MIT and the University of North Carolina. The simulation debrief tends to cover multiple areas: international geo-political dynamics, the biogeochemistry of climate (oceans, plants, the carbon cycle, tipping points), cultural barriers to global agreements, managing hope and fear amidst an uncertain future, a "systems" perspective on complex issues, and the technological, legal, and behavioral changes that will help stabilize the climate.
Overall, we've seen the Copenhagen Climate Exercise help people quickly learn the policy-relevant science of climate change, viscerally experience the international dynamics, and succeed at crafting a solution to the challenges, while taking a realistic look at the scale of changes ahead as we shift to a low-carbon global economy.
We are running this and other policy exercises in the areas of the UN negotiations and related executive-level strategy development exclusively via SI's and MIT's partnership with the Heinz Center and others as part of the Climate Action Initiative.
Current or potential leaders of the policy exercise can explore our extensive facilitator resources -- we share our slide decks, a facilitator manual, handout sheets, videos of an actual event etc. Note -- effective delivery requires apprenticeship and practice.
For more information on the policy exercise, see the article on the CCE in MIT's Technology Review. Read our blog entry on the exercise and its latest appearances. And watch the video of Dr. John Sterman and Kris Wile leading it.
The simulation model at the core of the CCE is called C-ROADS and has been created by Ventana Systems, Sustainability Institute, and MIT’s System Dynamics Group. More information may be found here.
The project blog has a recent explanation of the broader initiative (with MIT, Ventana Systems and others) of which CCE is a part.
Building on the example of the 1994 simulation-based, two party negotiation game Susclime, by Bert de Vries and Tom Fiddaman, this exercise emerged from the classrooms of Andrew Jones at UNC's Kenan Flagler Business School and John Sterman at the MIT Sloan School of Management in 2006. Its approach was then influenced by the Center for a New American Security's 2.5 day "Clout and Climate Change" War Game, by another negotiation exercise -- Climate Diplomat, by Craig Hart (whose materials are often used with CCE), Buckminster Fuller's World Game, and Dana Meadows' column, If the world were a village of 1000 people. The policy exercise has been adapted to meet different purposes and groups by Beth Sawin, Phil Rice, Peter Senge, Sherry Immediato, Chris Soderquist, Michael Goodman, Kim Warren, Kris Wile, and others.
If you plan on running the Copenhagen Climate Exercise, you will find the following materials useful. You can find an annotated list of these materials here. The best place to start is to download and read through the "Facilitator's Guide."
The Facilitator's Guide will lead you through the general concepts of the CCE, the details of the context, the purpose of the exercise, time required and walk you through a version of the exercise. Read this document first. It amounts to the script of the exercise.
A flier format for advertising an event.
Here you will find the Facilitator's Slide Set, which contains background materials and instructions for the exercise participants, as well as slide sets from previous exercise events.
This spreadsheet allows you to easily determine for a given number of participants how to divide them into the different country groupings so they match the global demographics.
Here are three files, one each for the three negotiating blocs in the CCE: Developed Countries, Developing A Countries, and Developing B Countries. These are printed and handed out to participants.
There are multiple groups of participants in the exercise. Each participant group gets a different set of "briefing papers." This document contains instructions for how to distribute the documents to the participants.
This is handed out to participants as part of the briefing portion of the exercise.
This can be handed out to reinforce some of the ideas developed in the slides.
This is a pre- and post-exercise assessment for participants.
Here you can find videos of segments of the CCE live runs as examples of how the exercise has been done.
This is the 3-region version of C-ROADS which is the underlying climate model used to support the CCE. Instructions on its use are available under the "briefing" menu in C-Learn.