We’re All in This Together
Climate Solutions Beyond Your Backyard
YOUR OWN CLIMATE SOLUTION SIMULATOR
By Tamara Risser
What if you woke up one day to find that all the fossil fuel powered cars, buses, and motorcycles had transformed overnight to become electric? Not only that, but transportation planners, employers, and health policy experts had collaborated on policies to reduce greenhouse gases and improve heath by creating a network of trails allowing residents to bike or walk to work and school.
In this new world, commuters save money and fuel by parking at satellite parking lots and taking electric buses and light rail systems to work—on the days when they don’t work at home. Better health, cleaner air, and affordable transportation would be some of the side benefits of living in this world.
What if there was a free online tool that allowed you to understand the impacts that these changes would have on temperature, greenhouse gases, ocean acidification, and sea level rise over the next 80 years? This model exists, the EnRoads Climate Solution Simulator (EnRoads) exists!
EnRoads Climate Solution Simulator
Developed by a Climate Interactive, an independent, not-for-profit think-tank based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, EnRoads has been used by the Congress, local community groups, the UN Secretary-General’s Office, and teachers (including Bill Nye the Science Guy) to analyze long-term results of different greenhouse gas reduction policies. Users create simulations and see what works to address climate change, inequity, and related issues like energy, health, and food.
EnRoads allows users to adopt policies that influence 18 different inputs that impact greenhouse gasses including: Energy Supply (coal, oil, natural gas, bioenergy, renewable, nuclear, carbon price); Transport (energy efficiency and electrification); Buildings and Industry (energy efficiency and electrification); Growth (population and economic); Land and Industry Emissions (deforestation and methane and other); and Carbon Removal (afforestation and technological).
After working with the model, I have come to appreciate the unanticipated consequences of focusing on one policy area. For example, policies that only focus on clean energy technology and energy efficiency reduce energy costs and can actually increase demand for high carbon fuels. When policies that encourage the development of clean energy are joined by policies that discourage the use of high carbon fuels—such as carbon fees—real progress is achieved.
Portland’s Citizens Climate Lobby supports carbon fees in the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019 (H.R. 763). To learn more about Enroads or HR 763 visit https://citizensclimatelobby.org/chapters/ME_Portland/.
Tamara Risser is a Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteer.