A simple way to think about the structure of En-ROADS is by considering the drivers of climate impacts. In the simulator, the concentration of greenhouse gases drives up global temperature, which leads to various impacts (e.g., sea level rise and ocean acidification).
The concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is driven by four main sources:
- Energy CO2 Emissions from burning coal, oil, gas, and biomass biomass: Organic (carbon-based) material that comes from living organisms such as plants and can be used as fuel. Examples include wood, corn, or crop residues such as the stalks left after harvesting.. CO2 emissions from energy currently comprise about 67% of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Land Use CO2 Emissions such as forestry and land use change. CO2 emissions from land use currently comprise about 7% of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Carbon Dioxide Removal approaches that pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and store it in plants, soils, or underground, leading to a decrease in CO2 concentrations.
- Other Greenhouse Gas Emissions such as methane, N2O, and F-gases. Non-CO2 emissions currently comprise about 26% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
Going further, CO2 emissions from energy are driven by four factors, which is known as the Kaya Identity. Population, consumption (GDP/capita), energy intensity (energy use per dollar of GDP), and carbon intensity (CO2 emissions per unit of energy) are all multiplied together and the result is overall energy CO2 emissions. In this way, at a high level, reducing energy CO2 emissions is about four things: fewer people, less consumption, more efficiency, and less high-carbon energy supplies.
Population and consumption (GDP/capita) growth also drive the emissions from the agricultural, land use, land use change, and forestry sectors, due to increased demand for things like food, wood products, and bioenergy feedstocks. This increases the CO2 emissions from land use and other greenhouse gases, which reinforces temperature increase and climate change.
In the model the impacts of climate change feed back to economic growth and crop yield. Higher global temperatures reduce GDP growth due to the costs of responding to extreme weather events, sea level rise, droughts, and flooding. Similarly, crop yield growth is harmed by these impacts too.
This is a simple way to understand the structure of En-ROADS. For a more in-depth explanation of the structure, view the videos below from our free En-ROADS training course or explore the En-ROADS Technical Reference.
- En-ROADS Model Structure (with Professor John Sterman, MIT)
- How we use research and data in En-ROADS
- Comparison to data and others’ scenarios (Part 1)
- Comparison to data and others’ scenarios (Part 2)
- Transparency, model updates, & extreme conditions testing
- Relevance to policymakers
- Our top critiques of En-ROADS (with Professor John Sterman, MIT)
- En-ROADS software mechanics