Today we have guest post by Joe Laur of Greenopolis, who discusses understanding the carbon system.
Computer Simulators Show How Much Waste CO2 We Need To Cut!Joe Laur
It takes a systems thinker to understand a system.
Systems move in mysterious ways. If you look at a wheel rotating clockwise, and then move to a position on the opposite side of the wheel- it will be moving counterclockwise! Sometimes if you step on the gas, the car stalls. Sometimes small changes, like moving the trim tab on a ship, make huge changes. And sometimes we need to and can make bigger changes than we thought possible to get where we need to go. Systems surprise us.
There’s an old story about lily pads on a pond. If the lily pads double in number every day, and the pond is covered by lily pads in 30 days, how much of the pond will be covered on day 29? One half. Day 28? A quarter. Day 27? An eighth. Day 26? A sixteenth! Only a few days from disaster, just a small portion of the pond is covered with lily pads. Those “chicken little “environmentalists, all worried about a few lily pads! Such is the nature of sudden systemic change.
Climate Interactive has been producing robust, science based computer simulators to explore the impacts of systemic rise in waste carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses and help leaders in places like the UN and the US Senate chart policy on carbon issues.
A climate “bathtub’ animation produced by Drew Jones, John Sterman, and a group from MIT, sponsored in part by Greenopolis Partner SEED, gives students, teachers, business leaders and policy makers a chance to try out different carbon scenarios and see which one will get us to the future we want, free from too many big storms, wild temperature swings, and unpredictable rain and weather patterns.
You can watch this video on how the simulator works.
Or go to Greenopolis Partner SEED to try it out for yourself.
If you are, or know, an educator, business leader or policy maker who should know this stuff, Climate Interactive and the MIT Sloan School are hosting and interactive workshop, Leaders for a New Climate: Systems Thinking and the C-ROADS Simulation, Oct 19-21, 2010, at MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
C-ROADS is a decision-maker simulation that helps folks understand the long term climate impacts of different scenarios to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It allows users to quickly “add up” national greenhouse gas reduction pledges and shows the long-term impact on the climate.
Attendees at the workshop will get copies of the C-Roads simulation along with leadership and systems thinking skills to apply it effectively.
With a critical issue like waste CO2 bearing down on us, shouldn’t we have the best tools and thinking at our disposal? After all, it takes a systems thinker to understand a system, and change it. How many lily pads ore in the pond, and how many days do we have in the calendar?