The BBC has made a free online game, in which you try to manage European policies during the next century so as to deal with climate change, all while maintaining political popularity. It is quite difficult, and perhaps not overly realistic. Dealing with energy is extremely easy (I could never even come close to selling my surplus), whereas food and water require constant management. In reality, I would expect markets to deal with food and water problems fairly easily (especially if the latter were priced intelligently), whereas large scale energy issues require government leadership. More information about the game is here.
Perhaps the greatest flaw of the game is how it deals with the popularity of initiatives. The way in which public opinion is modeled seems badly off-kilter. One would not expect to be able to get a screen at the end that says all of the following:
- Well done!
- Europe emitted a very low level of carbon emissions, which is likely to result in global temperatures increasing by 1.4-2.5 degrees Celsius.
- You left the economy in ruins. Hyper-inflation and joblessness are endemic across Europe. People are starving and crime and lawlessness have taken hold.
- You were generally liked and seemed to consider public opinion on almost all the decisions you took.
I am not sure what this ‘victory’ screen says about the BBC’s opinion on European voters, but the combination strikes me as supremely implausible. The willingness of the other world leaders to accept binding targets is also rather greater than one would expect.