C-ROADS is a computer simulation that helps people understand the long-term climate impacts of policy scenarios to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It allows for the rapid summation of national greenhouse gas reduction pledges in order to show the long-term impact on our climate.
MIT's John Sterman of the Climate Interactive team explains C-ROADS science and confidence building at a US State Department side event in Copenhagen.
Role of C-ROADS
Building on the Kyoto Protocol and outcomes from the UN climate negotiations, individual nations are making proposals and pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These proposals take different forms, with different reference years, reference scenarios, target years, and types of proposals. Determining whether or not these proposals together are enough to achieve climate stabilization is possible with complex disaggregated climate simulations, however, such models can be slow to run and inaccessible to non-modelers.
To address this we have developed C-ROADS to provide an easy to use tool whose results give users a rapid overview of the long-term impacts of proposals. We’ve designed and tested C-ROADS to provide negotiators and other decision-makers around the world a common platform to support their discussions. C-ROADS allows pledges to be quickly aggregated into a global emissions trajectory. From that emissions trajectory, C-ROADS calculates future greenhouse gas concentration, temperature, and sea level rise. The goal is to complement, not supplant, the larger disaggregated models such as MAGICC, MINICAM, AIM, and others. Indeed, output from C-ROADS can be saved as .xls or .gas files to be further tested in other models.
C-ROADS was developed by a team from Climate Interactive, Ventana Systems, and MIT. The name “C-ROADS”, stands for “Climate Rapid Overview and Decision Support" simulator. C-ROADS is easily used by non-modelers, and runs in less than 0.1 second on a laptop computer. It has undergone a scientific review from an independent team of respected climate scientists, climate modelers, and system dynamicists. The scientific review committee, chaired by Dr. Robert Watson, former Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, recommend C-ROADS for widespread use. Read a summary of their review here.
C-ROADS is being used at top government, corporate, and NGO levels, and by individuals participating in or monitoring the UNFCCC negotiations. Read comments by some of our users at the US State Department and European Environment Agency.
C-ROADS operates at two levels of regional disaggregation — 6 or 15 global negotiating blocs. This allows users to ask questions such as: what if all countries follow their current commitments? what if the EU reduces emissions 80% below 1990 by 2050, Mexico drops 50% below 2002 by 2050, China continues decreasing its emissions intensity, and so on?
The origins of C-ROADS is the 1997 PhD dissertation of Dr. Thomas Fiddaman, "Feedback Complexity in Integrated Climate-Economy Models," MIT Sloan School of Management. Dr. Fiddaman now works with Ventana Systems, one of the creators of the current version of C-ROADS as well as other economy-energy-environment simulations.
In addition to C-ROADS we have developed several simulations that use the same scientifically reviewed model behind C-ROADS but are in forms that are oriented towards education or focus on particular results that C-ROADS gives us.
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C-ROADS is copyright 2013, Climate Interactive and Ventana Systems.