If I Were God of the Climate

Standing over a tabletop computer screen depicting a dark and stormy sky, I become the Climate God, tasked with reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and saving humanity from dangerous climate changes. At my will I wield my climate-crushing powers by choosing a “solution card” and throwing it on the screen, thereby enacting policies and making the world a brighter place.

Choosing the Wind Energy card, I place it in the stormy sky, and a ray of blue light shoots from the card into the small bright spot in the corner labeled “Energy Supply.” The ray of light passes through three barriers that diminish its strength: Electric grids still can’t handle lots of wind power; energy policy still favors more carbon-intensive electricity; and the public still isn’t sold on the idea. With the mere click of a button, I resolve these barriers and watch as global greenhouse gas emissions drop from 36,284 to 34,686 Gigatons of CO2 equivalent (Gt CO2e).

100 solutions remain to be wielded, each one with its own barriers, and each reducing emissions from various sectors of the economy. But I fear I will soon grow tired from resolving the barriers – technological, political, infrastructural, and cultural – associated with each solution. I am in need of the most powerful solutions. And yet, among these 101 choices, I know there is only one that touches on every single greenhouse gas emitting sector. There is only one that can make all barriers easier to overcome.

When I place the Stop Over-Consumption card in the center of the screen, a rainbow of light shoots in all directions, to every corner of the sky. With lifestyle and political barriers resolved, every sector grows brighter and emissions drop drastically. In energy supply alone, emissions are reduced by 3,610 Gt CO2e, more than twice the reductions from Wind Energy. I have found the most powerful of climate solutions and it is the least godly of them all; a shift in the values and behaviors of everyday humans.

This scene occurred in Copenhagen, during the launch of the recent Worldwatch Report Renewable Revolution: Low Carbon Energy by 2030. The Bellona Foundation had on display their 101 Solutions table (pictured) at which anyone could play Climate God, as I did.

I was impressed at the level of detail and data communicated through the display and was encouraged to find Stop Over-Consumption such a powerful card to “wield.”

Experience the power yourself by playing the Online Version.

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