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Effectiveness of gaming for communicating and teaching climate change


  • Jasper N. Meya

    () (University of Oldenburg
    Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

  • Klaus Eisenack

    (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)


Abstract Games are increasingly proposed as an innovative way to convey scientific insights on the climate-economic system to students, non-experts, and the wider public. Yet, it is not clear if games can meet such expectations. We present quantitative evidence on the effectiveness of a simulation game for communicating and teaching international climate politics. We use a sample of over 200 students from Germany playing the simulation game KEEP COOL. We combine pre- and postgame surveys on climate politics with data on individual in-game decisions. Our key findings are that gaming increases the sense of personal responsibility, the confidence in politics for climate change mitigation, and makes more optimistic about international cooperation in climate politics. Furthermore, players that do cooperate less in the game become more optimistic about international cooperation but less confident about politics. These results are relevant for the design of future games, showing that effective climate games do not require climate-friendly in-game behavior as a winning condition. We conclude that simulation games can facilitate experiential learning about the difficulties of international climate politics and thereby complement both conventional communication and teaching methods.

Suggested Citation

  • Jasper N. Meya & Klaus Eisenack, 2018. "Effectiveness of gaming for communicating and teaching climate change," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 149(3), pages 319-333, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:climat:v:149:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s10584-018-2254-7
    DOI: 10.1007/s10584-018-2254-7

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    Cited by:

    1. Robert-Jan Den Haan & Mascha C. Van der Voort, 2018. "On Evaluating Social Learning Outcomes of Serious Games to Collaboratively Address Sustainability Problems: A Literature Review," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(12), pages 1-26, December.


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