Playing the World Climate Game

Progress Namibia - Playing the World Climate Game
08 November 2016

On Friday last week the Namibian Youth Coalition on Climate Change teamed up with the National Youth Council, Hanns Seidel Foundation's Climate Project (Think Namibia), the Namibian University of Science and Technology and Progress Namibia, to play ClimateInteractive's 'World Climate Negotiations Game'. ClimateInteractive is a wonderful resource that provides tools on improving your systems thinking and sustainability knowledge and skills.

The World Climate Simulation Game is a role playing game of the UN climate change negotiations for groups. Seeing as world leaders, and some of us, are about to head off to Marrakesh for the UNFCCC's Conference of the Parties (COP22), the world's climate change conference where world leaders negotiate on topics that will affect us all, we thought it fitting to have a learning exercise to show people how hard these negotiations can be.

The Game is unique in that is uses an interactive computer model (developed in partnership with MIT) to rapidly analyze the results of the mock-negotiations during the game. Your decisions are inputted in the model in real time, so you see what effects your decisions have on the world climate (and thus sea level rise, droughts and floods, etc).

The World Climate Game gives participants the chance to face the climate science, engage in the drama and tensions of global politics, and test their ambitions against the climate computer model. The game has been played in 64 countries with over 28 000 participants so far. And a recent survey conducted showed that 76% of all participants felt that they were more likely to engage and change their behaviour around climate change. Participant feedback from our game on Friday was very positive, with participants engaging in heated debates and having a lot of fun in the learning process. After the negotiations were done, the results were compared with the Paris outcomes from COP21 last year, and the group fared quite well in comparison. For the photos of the event, please visit

We hoped to use this exercise as a pilot to engage in games for sustainability once every month, where everyone and anyone is welcome to join, and learn, in order to bring about learning around important sustainability issues.