In The Field

Climate war game: the ‘Angry Red Chart’

angry red chart w words.JPG

I’ll wrap things up with an image. These two maps illustrate global temperature increases in 2050 and 2100. Much as the “”">hockey stick graph" became an icon for global warming itself, the “Angry Red Chart” became a symbol of the science that was driving negotiations back in the year 2015. It is also available without words.

The idea here is that regardless of what we do today, we are in store for some warming over the coming decades due to the delayed effects of greenhouse gases we have already pumped into the atmosphere. Thus the imperative to “adapt” in the 2050 scenario. But if we act quickly we might be able to avert the worst, notably the extreme “business as usual” scenario depicted in 2100.

One other thing: These are real results. Oak Ridge National Laboratory ran the numbers, and the presentation is courtesy of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. The simulation is based off of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s worst-case scenario, which mixes high growth with lots of fossil fuels, but that might not be unreasonable given that emissions have been growing faster than expected in recent years.

The Angry Red Chart proved to be an effective tool in the climate war game. Podesta slammed a paper copy on a negotiations table at one point, and digitally invoked it in the main hall more than once. We’ll see if it, or something like it, proves useful in the real world in the years to come.

Look out for next week’s Nature, where we’ll take one last look at the climate war game and what it can tell us.


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