Abstract for: The Effect of Interactive Climate Policy Simulation with En-ROADS on Policymakers’ Public Communications

The urgency and scale of action required to slow global warming is growing. To encourage effective policies that mitigate global warming, the MIT Climate Pathways Project provides interventions to leaders in government, using the En-ROADS climate simulator. This work evaluates the effect of En-ROADS interventions on policymakers’ climate change-related Twitter activity. We include a treatment group of 140 policymakers who have interacted with En-ROADS and a control group of 447 policymakers who have not interacted with En-ROADS. Tweets were collected for policymakers in both groups using the Tweepy API, which in total was 1,678,502 tweets. Analysis of Twitter data includes the use of a lexicon-based approach and classification models to classify tweets related to the urgency and scale of climate change, and tweets related to high-leverage climate policies. Using a binomial regression model, it was found that participation in En-ROADS is associated with significant increases in policymakers’ tweeting about the urgency and scale of climate change, and high-leverage climate policies. Effects on tweeting about the urgency and scale of climate change hold even when controlling for policymaker-specific effects and month-specific effects within the model. Republican policymakers tweet significantly less about climate change, and policymakers who chose to participate in an En-ROADS intervention tend to tweet more about climate change.