Understanding interdependent climate change risks using a serious game

Sabine Undorf, Simon Tett, J. Hagg, Marc J Metzger, G. Edmond, M. Jacques-Turner, S. Forrest, M. Shoote

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anthropogenic climate change calls for rapid and enormous cuts in emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases to mitigate future impacts. Even with these, however, many changes will continue to occur over the next 20–30 years adding to those already observed. Adaptation is crucial and urgent, but identifying strategies is complex and requires dialogue and cooperation among stakeholders, especially for infrastructure that exhibits interdependent risks in that failure in one type may impact others. A serious game was codeveloped with infrastructure operators to communicate climate projections and climate hazards to them; identify potential interdependencies, cascading impacts, cumulative effects, and vulnerability hot spots; and engage them to improve cooperation and enable a shared understanding of cross-cutting climate risks and interdependencies. In the game, players provide present-day infrastructure services in the Inverclyde district, Scotland, as they experience a plausible decade of 2050s weather characterized by a sequence of hazard events. This sequence was extracted from climate model projections to ensure scientific plausibility. The infrastructure operators were responsible for drinking water and gas supplies, road and rail transport, wastewater treatment, and civil infrastructure. When playing the game the participating U.K. infrastructure providers felt that although there were challenges, they could cope with 2050s climate change. None of the projected hazard events were anticipated to cause catastrophic impact cascades on infrastructure. The game was positively received, and the study suggests it is a useful tool to both communicate climate hazards and explore potential interdependent risks by bringing together stakeholders’ individual expertise in an engaging way.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2020


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