John Sterman in Copenhagen

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The good news is that MIT Sloan Management Review contributing editor, our woman in Copenhagen, Nina Kruschwitz, has yet to be arrested. Here’s her latest missive:

StermanIt seems impossible to stay on top of negotiations at the Climate Change Conference here in Copenhagen — what does each country’s pledge in reductions really mean?— but MIT Sloan Professor John Sterman and his colleagues from Climate Interactive have come up with a deceptively simple tool to help that they call C-ROADS. It’s a simulator, a software program that “provides the only fast-turnaround tracking of the long term climate impacts of the mitigation agreements made here in COP15,” says Sustainability Institute (and MIT grad) Drew Jones. “It closes a critical feedback loop, letting people ranging from negotiators to global citizens know whether the deal is strong enough or not.” The group presented at the conference to an overflow crowd, and the power of this open-source model was obvious. U.S. Senator John Kerry used it to help him understand where the proposals to COP15 were headed, and more people, including Jonathan Pershing, Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change in the U.S. State Department (the lead “hands-on” negotiater) are using the simulation to help them understand the implications of each scenario in real time. In keeping with its university roots, students at the University of Copenhagen Business School had a chance to use the simulator yesterday in a mock UN session that was hugely successful. But you don’t have to be a policymaker or at Copenhagen to experience the power of the sim. The Climate Scoreboard is available to anyone and is updated automatically as each country makes their proposal. As Sterman told the New York Times’s soon-to-accept-a-buyout Andrew Revkin, if the emissions commitments don’t limit warming to less than 2 degrees, “That’s still like playing Russian roulette with 1 in 20 chambers loaded.

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