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The Dynamics of Climate Change: Understanding and Influencing the Planet

The Dynamics of Climate Change: Understanding and Influencing the Planet  
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
12:00 – 1:00 PM EDT (Boston Time)

Hosted by:
Steve Adler, IBM & Karim Chichakly, isee systems
Presented by:
Andrew Jones, Climate Interactive

On September 19, The New York Times reported on how the “Obama Administration is Pressing Ahead with Limits on Emissions from Power Plants.”  And on October 8th, we will share with you the System Dynamics Model they are using to calculate how coal plants are effecting CO2 and Climate Change world wide.  This model was developed by Climate Interactive, and it is the most credible and widely used climate simulation model in the world.

On this webinar, you will learn how world leaders are using C-ROADS in global climate negotiations.  C-ROADS is an award-winning computer simulation that helps people understand the long-term climate impacts of policies designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. World leaders are using the model in global climate negotiations. In this interactive session, Andrew Jones, Co-Director of Climate Interactive, will introduce participants to C-ROADS and will describe how it can be used by others to understand and test their own scenarios or conduct real-time policy analysis.

This webinar is the first in the Big Data, System Dynamics, and XMILE webinar series jointly sponsored by IBM, isee systems and the OASIS XMILE Technical Committee. The series will showcase leading edge use cases of Big Data and System Dynamics Simulations:

  • Climate Change
  • Healthcare Reform
  • Clean Energy
  • Financial Services
  • Smarter Cities
  • Retail
  • Insurance
  • Project Management

They will demonstrate how System Dynamics Policy Simulations can improve Big Data Analytics by showing tertiary consequences of policy decisions over time in a wide variety of industries, geographies, and business conditions.  These webinars will be recorded and posted to a YouTube Channel for ongoing education.
Space is limited for this FREE event, so register today.


  1. Although I applaud the effort to improve scenarios to keep some global outcomes in check (CO2, temperature) I can’t stop thinking we put on way too big pants.

    Who on earth thinks us humans can control what happens on a global scale?

    I’m not religious, but controlling earth temperature increase on +3 C max is outside our control, unless someone can point me to the thermostat.

    Better calculation of what we can get away with will not lead to goal adherence. For one thing, I fear that it will not be understood that what is calculated is the absolute minimum we must do to keep in line with the objectives.

    But if it serves the purpose of highlighting the magnitude of the task we take on: please proceed and make the results widely recognized!

  2. We had a great call. 845 Registered and 405 participated. Comments and Questions were excellent. Posted here so everyone can learn.

    C-ROADS questions:

    Models are based on assumptions. How far back does the data go that informs this models assumptions?

    Is there any element in this model that addresses path dependency?

    There are two fundamental concepts that have to be explained – first of all:
    1. How easy is it to drive deterministic SD models with stochastic inputs
    2. How much is it going to cost!

    Have you seen the climate change model of Dennis Sherwood using GAIA concepts?

    Have you developed model not at the macro level but at the regional or community level?

    Isn’t adaptation to climate change the most important issue?

    Have you done any studies to see if CO2 emissions are the first natural resource that we have to worry about?

    Is there a livestock component and how livestock is being accounted for?

    Are other greenhouse gases included? Methane, etc.

    Are there variables included that incorporate farm animals generated GHGs? What will be the impact if half the world were to turn vegetarian?

    What about the effect upon temperature of other greenhouse gases. Is there a danger in demanding excessive reductions in CO2 emissions when methane and water vapor are more important causal factors?

    Does the model take into account issues such as methane release from melting tundra and the albedo effect?

    Is it necessary to run the model in Windows (Drew’s using VMware on his Mac)?

    Does the model include stochastic drivers?

    This was from an NPR story about 2 weeks ago: Recent studies indicate that the amount of heat that is stored in the ocean is greater than originally thought…does this model reflect that recent research?

    How did you validate your model? Your model matched with until 2013 data.

    What was your assumption [for CO2 emission reduction]? Using more electronic cars and more people using the public transportation?

    How can we accelerate [CO2] removals???

    It seems that some of the policies in the model must be based on qualitative factors…if so, how did the modeling team approach quantifying such variables?

    What are the key sources of funding for c-roads?

    Does the model addresses the economic-industrial consequences of the emission reduction in the different scenarios?

    It could be useful to include risk analysis as a standard component in climate change models.

    What about dealing with uncertainty? E.g. in climate sensitivity and other assumptions.

    Were those models made with iThink?
    A: The models were created using Vensim.

    Can econometric data be incorporated?

    Does the Model incorporate economic and financial effects for different Policies?

    Does the c-roads model addresses the economic-industrial consequences of the emission reduction in the different scenarios?

    Are the models updated/do they change? Or are you confident that you have the system modeled and just changing the parameters is necessary to test?

    Is it possible simulate how the global Carbon intisy emissions will have influences thru the South America ozone hole to be grow?

    Does C-roads cover the effect of climate change in increasing disease invasion?

    What kind of commitment has China made when you worked with those Chinese academic folks?

    Why do you guys care so much about what China did and is going to do regarding reducing CO2?

    Can the free version [of C-ROADS] be used in off-line mode?

    With all these results, still in Canada and Australia they debate the global warming effects the utility of reducing emissions….How to reach this message to the public?

    What if some countries do not commit to CO2 emissions reductions?

    What specific policy conclusions come from C-ROADS aside from “fewer emissions” and “more trees”?

    Did you create a model for Climate Change solution?

    What are the limitations of the C-ROADS model?

    How do climate deniers react to the model and how do you respond?

    Are you using the same models as the IPCC global climate change models?

    What are the IPCC models shortcomings and strengths, comparing with C-Roads?

    One criticism of the IPCC is that it is very conservative with respect to positive reinforcing feedback loops. How has C-roads dealt with this issue?

    The IPPC models have done a terrible job of predicting temperature increases over the last decade. Have you gone back and calibrated your SDS model to see how its predictions from, say, ca. 2000 would match against today’s temp?

    Factoring tar sands production into the/a model?

    How do I find out more about the human impacts of climate change (like impact on wars)?

    There have been some very recent studies looking at quantifying the influence of climate change on human conflict – have you started to incorporate any of these aspects into the C-ROADS model?

    3-4% reduction in emissions for how many years? At some point, we will reach the limit of reductions that are possible (we will never get to zero emissions).

    In light of the previous question, do you have any adjustable parameters that allow you to calibrate your model against GCMs?

    How can you deal with tipping points and catastrophes, and large uncertainties, while keeping your communication to policy makers from overwhelming them?

    How could you be sure equations or model behavior are reliable?

    How do you know the model is accurate?

    How did you present the model’s limitations?

    Will you be looking at the new concept of transient climate response instead of equilibrium climate response?

    How could more severe weather impact survival of forests and/or expansion of forests?

    Positive feedback from gas absorbed in oceans?

    Can we tap into that temp increase to create energy for use, heat homes, etc.?

    Can you also use this model concerning the influence of climate change to lowering biodiversity?

    Is it possible to use your model to show correlation between biodiversity loss and climate change?

    What happens when the countries/negotiators illusions collapse after using your model?

    Where are the political pinch-points your modeling effort has surfaced as it rolls into the policy discourse arena?

    What better questions about policy has your modeling effort generated?

    Are traded emissions reflected in the different regions?

    Are there plans to also show the cumulative emissions in C-Roads?

    Have you scaled down the global models to a tool for regional projections?

    What is that “aggregate switch” from 2 to 3 ?

    And modelling upstream of CO2 emissions, i.e. means, causes-effects of decisions in different sectors/sources?

    How many eqs are there [in the C-ROADS model]?

    How many modellers were there?

    How much time did it take to produce the model?

    Do you work to involve this information with groups like Climate Wise Women in order to combine research with stories?

    When will EN-ROADS be available?

    Do you think that tourism industry can have a huge effect on global warming to be considered in the model?

    Sounds like the difference between debt and deficit – which is better understood?

    With the Government shutdown in the US for several ideological reasons, how can the US lead in this area or remain a leader and at the same time, will it take another GREAT catastrophe before the needle moves?

    Is LAI (leaf area index) is used already as one part in the model?

    Why do fossil fuel emissions decrease after 2030 more or less?

    Where is the causal loop diagram of the system? We need to look at it.

    Have you done any Monte Carlo tests?

    How does population dynamics affect this result?

    Is there a way to include a gender component in the model? That is, how might the model explore the different impacts of climate change under different scenarios? What data would be needed to do this?

    System dynamics is macro level approach focusing on causal relationships. Have you also to compare your results with those of an agent-based modeling approach which considers the interactions between various actors influencing climate change?

    What is the relation between teaching System Dynamics in primary schools and implementing policies for climate change?

    Do you have an available list of countries under each classification we can consult?

    You have talked about change in temperatures, can the model be used to simulate [change in] rainfall?

    Can this model be applied to the behaviour of a company’s Supply Chain?

    Is C-ROADS model available in XMILE format?
    A: Not yet!

    Describe how this use case is tied into XMILE.

    How do we become model designers like you? Education, skills necessary?

    XMILE questions:

    Can XMILE integrate SD and GIS models?

    Is XMILE is freely available?

    Could you show us an example of SD and XMILE?

    Could you tell us something more about SD and big data?

    Is there any real case example of using models written in XMILE into BIG DATA systems?

    Does xmile provide a template for validation checks?

    How will a final user (a modeler for example) would access xmile? Will it be a software package?

    Do interfaces transfer with xmile?

    Does XMILE work with iPads, etc.?

    When will XMILE be at a relatively ‘mature’/stable stage?

    What is the current status of XMile development and when do you expect a release?

    How will XMILE handle external data inputs to a model? Will it read data from spreadsheets as Vensim can?

    How supportive are the software vendors in the XMILE project? In a similar project I was involved in the vendors didn’t seem to get the fact that seamless exchange of information between models helped them sell their software based on its ability to meet end user needs without having to worry about what others are using.

    Is XMILE intended to be a free of charge add-on or is it going to be sold with the usual SD softwares?

    What Standards bodies, if any, operate above the XMILE layer, that is who authenticates the XMILE standard? Who is involved in this effort?

    Have you looked at the XML capabilities of Python – an up and coming SD language?

    Can XMILE translate between SD models and discrete event models?

    Are you guys developing also any engine to run Xmile models?

    What’s the difference between xmile and stella?

    Where does one find a list of available models?

    Who’s currently doing exports to xmile std?

    How widely supported is XMILE?

    Will xmile enable strong model documentation and presentation?

    Does the XMILE standard include translations of comments and documentation? I’m thinking about the SDM tool developed by martinez-moyano as a device to generate consistent documentation.

    General questions:

    Is System Dynamics the best method in the world?

    What would be the best textbooks or overview sources to learn more about dynamic modeling?

    How can interdisciplinary systems models be brought into the schooling system?

    How can you get Systems Thinking into the university curriculum?

    Feedback: Karim and all, in one of the future webinars in this series, it would be helpful to see a model being translated from one to another package using xmile. Perhaps, Rethink Health? Thanks! And thanks for this webinar.

  3. Sorry I missed it . The time sucks for those of us in Asia PAC
    Luckily I can catch the replay

  4. If we don’t try to understand the profound effect of human civilization on our planet, who will notice as Rhinos, Elephants, Lions, and other animals go extinct. Who will notice our seas become clogged with plastic trash that ends up eaten by fish and in our food supply. We change the planet every day with our use and misuse of its resources. It may be hard to imagine how 7 billion of us do this in small ways every day that coagulate into large movements of weather and temperature, but how should we know if we don’t try in all our imperfect ways to describe it and learn?

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