Abstract for: Can interactive simulation impact what policymakers say and do on climate?

In the US and elsewhere, policies to mitigate climate change remain vastly inadequate. While political and public discourse on climate change and its potential solutions has intensified in recent years, the topic remains contentious. The En-ROADS simulator and workshop were developed to help inform decision-makers at all levels about the urgency of climate change and enable them to identify high-leverage climate solutions. So far, more than 120 members of the US Congress and hundreds of leaders in business and finance have participated in En-ROADS simulation workshops. Here, we test the impact of these workshops on the legislative work and rhetoric of these leaders. We use computational tools to extract their public and legislative communications and activities -- including social media posts, media interviews, speeches, and other statements -- for one year before and one year after their participation in En-ROADS workshops. We also use computer-assisted linguistic analysis and qualitative approaches to measure if and how leaders’ rhetoric and actions were affected by their interaction with En-ROADS. This ongoing work is part of the Climate Pathways Project, which seeks to advance the adoption of evidence-based climate policy through interactive En-ROADS simulations with leaders in government, business, and civil society. Here, we will share the project approach, an overview of our methods, and early findings. Additional authors: Chris Page, Krystal Noiseux, Tess Hemmila