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Friday September 24th

Kenan-Flagler professor hosts simulation workshop on the realities of climate change

<p>Co-Founder and Co-Director of Climate Interactive Andrew Jones poses for a FaceTime portrait on March 18, 2021. Jones is also an adjunct professor for the Kenan-Flagler School of Business.</p>
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Co-Founder and Co-Director of Climate Interactive Andrew Jones poses for a FaceTime portrait on March 18, 2021. Jones is also an adjunct professor for the Kenan-Flagler School of Business.

When Kenan-Flagler Business School professor Andrew Jones first started to advocate for climate change prevention and awareness, he was frustrated by the unwillingness of policymakers to change their minds based on science. 

And quoting his previous Massachusetts Institute of Technology adviser, Jones said "research shows that showing people research doesn't work."

The North Carolina chapters of Citizens' Climate Lobby hosted a simulation workshop on March 17 to teach community volunteers and members about solutions to climate change. The En-ROADS Climate Workshop was created by the MIT Sloan School of Management and Climate Interactive. It was intended to give community members the chance to design their own scenarios to limit future global warming by exploring system-wide global solutions to climate change. 

Climate Interactive, a non-profit organization, provides resources such as simulations to help people see connections and play out scenarios to address climate change, inequity and other issues like energy, health and food.

Jones, a co-founder and co-director of Climate Interactive, teaches a course called "Systems Thinking for Sustainable Enterprise" to MBA students. 

Jones led Wednesday’s workshop with PollEvs, Q&As and demonstrations of the simulator in use. The simulation is made up of slides of different environmental factors and solutions that demonstrate, on a graph, their impact on the climate’s future. 

Climate Interactive also developed the C-ROADS simulation model, a free, award-winning computer simulator that helps people understand the long-term climate impacts of national and regional greenhouse gas emission reductions at the global level. 

En-ROADS helps leaders see what policies are needed in order to do the same, Jones said.

“We need to create experiences for people to change their minds on their own terms,” Jones said. “Then we created simulations that are built into workshops and into role play games that are more immersive and powerful.”

Citizens' Climate Lobby, the workshop’s host, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan grassroots organization that focuses on national policies that address climate change. CCL Field Development Coordinator Don Kraus said that events and workshops like the En-ROADS workshop can show how effective solutions can make an impact on our future.

“We are seeing that the stress on our forests, mountains and rivers are increasing and I want (my daughter) to be able to enjoy the same kind of life that I have and I want her kids to be able to do it too,” Kraus said. 

The CCL meets regularly with members of Congress to ask them to help solve the problem of climate change and to support solutions that will make a meaningful difference. 

Donald Addu, program director for the CCL, said that with the help of the CCL’s volunteers and community members, the earth can reach a stable climate. 

“Momentum for climate action is growing in Congress, and there's a plethora of policy solutions being discussed in Washington D.C. —  some are more effective than others,” Addu said at the workshop Wednesday. “The question on many lawmakers’ minds is: ‘What combination gets us to a livable world the fastest?’”

One of the things that Kraus said he loves about the CCL is that it is a bipartisan organization, including people from across the political spectrum, and is strongly solutions-focused. 

“There may be a lot of things that we don't agree on, but we agree on a livable world and we put all of those things aside, so we can work on a livable world,” Kraus said. 

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