UN meeting
An interdisciplinary team of researchers from Purdue University conduct a workshop at the 2018 meeting in Bonn, Germany. (Photo credit: Purdue University)

Climate change negotiations are serious work. But at a UN meeting about climate change last spring, some delegates took time out for a role-playing game.

Milkoreit: “Each player plays a country.”

Manjana Milkoreit of Purdue University led the team that created the game. It’s called “Tipping Point Negotiations.”

Milkoreit: “I wanted to explore some innovative ways of bringing the science to negotiators. How can we help folks who have very limited time and capacity to read scientific reports, who have a large agenda in terms of topics and complex things they have to grapple with on a daily basis?”

In the game, players learn about how climate change threatens the country they each represent. And they decide how much money to invest in different climate solutions.

Then a computer model calculates how their choices will affect the global climate – and people’s lives – several decades later.

Milkoreit: “Some participants respond rather emotionally. Then suddenly it’s like, wow, that is actually time where my children, my grandchildren will live!”

She says the game helps make climate change – and the effects of potential government responses – more tangible. And that, she hopes, will lead to strong global climate action.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Daisy Simmons

Daisy Simmons is a freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in research-driven storytelling. In addition to contributing to Yale Climate Connections since early 2016, she also...