Twitter’s first quarter results are missed – Protocol

The outlet ditched the aptly named “The Climate Game” for Earth Week (yes, it’s not just a day anymore). If you haven’t played the game yet, go ahead and do so now if you wish as there are spoilers ahead below.

The game challenges you to bring the world to net zero by 2050 to avoid the worst effects of global warming. It addresses many major sectors, from electricity to building, and from transport to industry. I must confess that even though I kept global warming to 1.48 degrees Celsius on my first attempt (sort of a victory!), I didn’t manage to reach net zero until the second. round.

At the risk of sounding defensive – something my sister would say is typical of my approach to loss – I have a few theories about my loss. The first: I would say that the game gives more weight to public opinion than our current approach to policymaking.

For example, when I came to the question of how to get public opinion on my side in light of some voters’ concerns about skyrocketing electricity bills, I replied “just ignore them, they have wrong”. We have a planet to save here, people! This outburst of cynicism was apparently the wrong move, as the game is built on the principle that engaging the audience is crucial.

Which…yes, I agree. However, countless polls show that the public is increasingly invested in climate action. Telling them to deal with it, I thought if a majority were in favor of doing something about climate change and only “some voters” were resisting aggressive climate action in this fantasy world, why should that? it slow us down?

According to Pippa, my visiting friend who I pushed to play it, the game responded with similar alarm to her decision to announce that all protein in diets now had to come from insects. And my attempt to go bold with a $1,000 a tonne price on carbon also caused public outcry in the fantasy world of the Financial Times. But I continued to warm below 1.5 degrees Celsius, saving countless fictional lives. Does it matter that a small constituency got angry?

The transportation section focused almost entirely on electric vehicles, which also ruined my first attempt. Initially, I was not investing enough in decarbonizing vehicles because I mistakenly thought that I could wait for an opportunity to invest in public transport. While electrifying cars is great, getting more people to walk, cycle or use buses is a less glamorous but no less crucial piece of the climate preservation puzzle.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I love this game. And I actually think it’s a good thing that different people can have different approaches to solving the climate crisis. A confluence of approaches is what we need!

I like that the game forces the player to work around investments or decisions that will be a waste of effort (quantified in-game, but hopefully the effort is more easily probed in the real world). Pippa was rightly skeptical about investing in drone technology for reforestation when I should have invested in sustainable aviation fuel. (That just slipped my mind. Sorry, virtual world!)

Games like this can also make dense reports like the recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change much more accessible. Pippa played three times (and managed to hit net zero on her second attempt), which is something even the most climate-savvy person can say about reading the IPCC.

The Financial Times has published a cheat sheet, ostensibly for gambling, but also – let’s be honest – that could be converted into a checklist for decision makers. But playing is much more fun. Somebody get it on every congressman’s iPad ASAP.

About Bradley J. Bridges

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