The World Climate Simulation: A Tool to Motivate Science-Informed Climate Action on Your Campus

Juliette Rooney-Varga Presenter
Director, Associate Professor
University of Massachusetts Lowell
Carolyn McCarthy Co-Presenter
University of Massachusetts Lowell
Sun, 10/27: 1:00 PM  - 4:30 PM 
Half-Day Workshop 
PM Pre-Conference Workshop 
Room: 202B - Transportation 
Are you looking for a tool to get students engaged, excited, and motivated to take science-informed action on your campus? This workshop will give you hands-on experience with the World Climate simulation: a tool that has been shown to engage students, inform them about climate change, and motivate them to learn and do more.

Participants in World Climate take on the roles of delegates from different countries or regions and are charged with reaching an agreement to limit warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius. Each delegation offers policies to manage its own greenhouse gas emissions. They also pledge either to support or request money from the Green Climate Fund, which was created to help developing countries cut their emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Each group's decisions are entered into C-ROADS, a climate policy model that has been used to support actual negotiations, immediately showing them the expected climate impacts of their choices.

Through this workshop, you will learn how to facilitate World Climate successfully and tie it to opportunities for student learning and action on your campus. We will also share recent and ongoing research about its impact on learning and motivation. Participants in World Climate show increased knowledge about climate change science and higher emotional engagement with the issue. They come away believing that it is not too late for meaningful action. These emotional responses are linked to a stronger desire to learn and do more, from reducing their personal carbon footprints to taking political action. Importantly, we find that these outcomes are robust across diverse political views and sociodemographic groups, including free-market proponents and underrepresented minorities.

Audience Empowerment

Participants in this workshop will be empowered to successfully lead World Climate at their own institutions. By joining a community of World Climate sustainability leaders, they will also have an opportunity to share their successes and lessons learned with other educators. Participants will also be invited to join our effort to research learning outcomes from simulations. 

Primary Topic Area

Campus Engagement & Culture

Secondary Topic Areas

Public Engagement

Session Level

Introductory Level

Intended Audience

Businesses and Community
Graduate Students or Above
Other Staff
Sustainability Staff
Undergraduate Students

Does your submission have a focus on a particular institution type? (select up to three)

Community and Technical Colleges
Hispanic Serving Institutions
Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Institutions outside of the US
Liberal Arts Colleges
Other Minority Serving Institutions
Research Universities
Special Focus Institutions
Tribal Colleges