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Rasing Awareness of Global Warming

Prof. Dr Florian Kapmeier receives key innovation award from AACSB International

Prof. Dr Florian Kapmeier and students of ESB Business School hold a fictitious climate summit (November 2019).

By Sven Rottner

Every year, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) recognizes activities and projects that make innovative contributions to the further development of international management training. At ESB Business School, Professor Florian Kapmeier’s initiative to spread the simulation-based role-playing game Climate Action Simulation in German-speaking countries has now been recognized by the AACSB as "Innovation that Inspires". The prize was awarded for the sixth time in 2021.

Climate Action Simulation is an interactive role-playing game that motivates people of all political convictions to become more involved in climate action. Conventional communication on global warming relies on the one-way dissemination of findings. However, it has been demonstrated that that the mere presentation of research results does not lead to the necessary changes in behaviour.

That's why Florian Kapmeier and his research partners from the U.S. think tank Climate Interactive, the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative, and the Climate Change Initiative at the University of Massachusetts Lowell developed the simulation-based role-playing game Climate Action Simulation. In a global study of the comparable World Climate Simulation, the research team showed that such interactive role-playing games foster a sense of urgency and motivation to act. More than 81 percent of participants said they were more motivated to take action on climate change.

In the Climate Action Simulation, participants can find out for themselves about the current state of climate science, about international negotiation processes, and about ways to tackle the climate crisis. At a fictitious United Nations climate summit, they take on the roles of global stakeholders from industry and commerce, agriculture and forestry, politics, non-governmental organizations, or of representatives from the conventional and renewable energy industries. They negotiate measures to limit global warming to well below 2 °C by the year 2100. Florian Kapmeier takes on the role of the UN Secretary-General and leads the negotiations. After the negotiation rounds, the participants present their positions to the assembly.

The various proposals are entered into the climate-energy simulation model En-ROADS. Freely available, transparent, and calibrated against large-scale climate models, En-ROADS was also developed by Climate Interactive and the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative. With En-ROADS, participants immediately experience the impact of their proposals on the climate and temperature rise by the year 2100, “allowing them to test their understanding of the climate-energy system. They can find out for themselves what needs to be done and how ambitious action needs to be taken to limit global warming to well below 2 °C - without me showing them a powerpoint on the subject,” says Florian Kapmeier. The fact that En-ROADS is already being used in politics and business reinforces the realistic feel of the game.

In total, more than 120,000 people in around 90 countries have already participated in the Climate Action Simulation and the World Climate Simulation. Florian Kapmeier is committed to anchoring En-ROADS and the two role-playing games in the German education system. To this end, he is working with the state of Baden-Württemberg’s Ministries for the Environment and for Science, the Arts and Culture, and with the Klett publishing group. The Klett publishing house has included the role plays in the new geography book for the 11th grade. In a project funded by the sustainability strategy of the state of Baden-Württemberg, Kapmeier and his team are currently working on the translation of all materials on En-ROADS and the Climate Action Simulation.