Abstract for: Interactive Experimentation with a Policy-Maker-Oriented Global Energy and Climate Simulator

Society’s energy infrastructure and the Earth’s climate are each complex dynamical systems driven by multiple feedback processes, accumulations, time delays and nonlinearities, but research shows poor understanding of these processes is widespread, even among highly educated people with strong technical backgrounds. Existing energy and climate models are opaque to policymakers and too slow to be effective either in the fast-paced context of policymaking or as learning environments to help improve people’s understanding of climate dynamics. Here we present a transparent, intuitive policy simulation model that provides policymakers, negotiators, educators, businesses, the media, and the public with the ability to explore, for themselves, the likely consequences of energy, GDP, land use, and GHG emissions policies. The model runs on an ordinary laptop in a fraction of a second, offers an intuitive interface and has been carefully grounded in the best available science. We describe the need for such tools, the structure of the model, and calibration to climate data, energy data, and state of the art general circulation and energy models. This simulation is an extension of a climate simulator that is being used by officials and policymakers in key UNFCCC parties, including the United States, China and the United Nations.