C-ROADS – Climate Simulation for Decision Makers

In partnership with the Sustainability Institute and MIT since 2008, Ventana Systems has developed “C-ROADS”, a decision-maker-oriented international climate simulator. C-ROADS helps users understand the long term climate impacts of various futures for fossil fuel emissions, other emissions, sequestration, and various uncertainties.C-ROADS simulation output: Regional EmissionsC-ROADS stands for “Climate Rapid Overview and Decision-support Simulator.” As opposed to most climate models, which take days or weeks to run and are designed for scientists, this simulator will be posted in its 3-region form as freeware on the internet, can be used by non-modelers, and runs in less than .1 second on a laptop. The simulator operates at three levels of regional disaggregation, helping to answer questions such as “what if all countries follow their current commitments?” In practice negotiations and in strategy conversations, C-ROADS has helped both technical and non-technical people quickly understand the long term implications (CO2 concentration, temperature, sea level rise) of climate agreements while considering per capita, cumulative, future, and current emissions as well as GDP, populations, and emissions intensity. In some recent uses, Schlumberger’s science education program, SEED, created an animated simulation using C-ROADS, and Per Andersson of Ericsson in Sweden used the Schlumberger animated simulation in dozens of presentations in his company.

  • Morgan Stanley’s Office of Sustainability created a video for its employee education program on climate change issues.
  • Bill Moomaw of Tufts University used a slide deck created from the C-ROADS simulator in a presentation to an IPCC committee.
  • MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence is creating an “argumentation and deliberation” program that will call upon C-ROADS, to help users debate climate solutions.
  • The model was reviewed by an external scientific review committee, chaired by Sir Robert Watson, former Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The reviewers recommended C-ROADS for widespread use. Read a summary of their review here
  • In 2013 C-ROADS was awarded the System Dynamics Society Award for the best “Real World” Application of System Dynamics
  • 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 users at the US State Department and European Environment Agency.

    “The C-ROADS model from Climate Interactive was used by me and other members of President Obama’s climate-change team for gaining rapid insights into the consequences of alternative greenhouse-gas-emissions trajectories for the United States and the rest of the world.”   -Dr. John Holdren, White House Science Advisor, 2008-2016

Potential uses range from private strategic planning sessions to “mock-U.N.” negotiations (at MIT, for European business leaders in Greenland, and for national security strategists in Washington DC with the Center for a New American Security) to posting the simulator globally in multiple languages to help global citizens understand and influence mitigation approaches. For full information about C-ROADS please see the official C-ROADS website (from which this information is excerpted), or download the two-page informational flyer below. Work on C-ROADS is part of Ventana’s broader efforts on energy, economy and climate policy interactions. More information on Ventana’s climate and energy policy work is also available for download below.