Abstract for: Can simulated climate action motivate real-world decision-making? Bringing the En-ROADS simulator to leaders

There is an urgent need to spur leaders in government, business, and civil society to take evidence-based climate action. But, so far, decades of reports and warnings from scientists have failed to close the climate action gap. We ask whether an interactive simulation-based approach, using the En-ROADS climate solutions model, can help. We engaged more than 1,500 leaders and use a three-pronged approach to determine whether En-ROADS engagement motivates real-world action: (1) pre-post-simulation survey analysis; (2) qualitative analysis of semi-structured post-simulation interviews; and (3) analysis of what they say and do in the public sphere pre- and post-En-ROADS. All three approaches indicate that En-ROADS simulations are associated with gains in leaders’ knowledge about and engagement with climate change solutions. Survey results show significant gains in knowledge about effective solutions to address climate change. Post-En-ROADS interview transcripts indicate gains in a sense of urgency and agency to act. All interviewees intend to take action – from sharing the model with others to advocating for carbon pricing policy and establishing a $100 M clean tech venture fund. Preliminary analysis of policymakers’ public sphere communications indicates shifts towards a more positive tone about climate change and use of more sophisticated vocabulary. Additional authors: Krystal Noiseux and Rachel Coleman.