>Honey, I fried the planet


Nosing around for political simulation games that might be useful for teaching purposes, I came across a test version the online CO2FX educational game simulating global warming and development issues. It plays quite well. You get to play Brazil and there are parts for political, scientific and scientific advisers (although I combined all three). I go for a distinctly unhistoric free market-ish development strategy, slashing taxes and scrapping agricultural subsidies by the early 1970s and putting on few green carbon taxes when economic growth and huge popularity make this possible. I misjudge things and by the turn the 21st century I realise I have to boost R & D budgets and impose punitive carbon taxes to push the nation’s fossil fuel dependency down – compensating for this by further reductions in personal and business taxes. I do manage to get fossil fuel use down to 20% but 2040 without too much pain. Unemployment rises a bit, but GDP is still rising and the government is still popular, but human development indicators (never great under my regime) are awful. Life expectancy dips below 1960s levels. Meanwhile, the ice caps have melted, rising sea levels have caused flooding and CO2 and global temperature have soared. I blame the Chinese.

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