Östergötland’s future – forest fires and drought?

The Climate Change Megagame was held on 21 November. This is a huge online game that simulates future climate change in Östergötland, with participants playing the part of various local actors.

Ola Uhrqvist and Ola Leifler lead the Climate Change Megagame David Isaksson

“We were rather nervous. We rebuilt the complete game so that it could be played using remote methods, and finished the new structure about a month before the event”, says Ola Leifler, senior lecturer in the Department of Computer and Information Science and leader of the project.
It was initially planned that the people playing the Climate Change Megagame would be on-site in the “Konsert och Kongress” conference centre in Linköping, but the Covid-19 pandemic made that impossible. So a studio was built on the main stage at the centre, from which the event was live-streamed with LiU researchers Ola Uhrqvist and Ola Leifler as hosts and game controllers.
The gaming board for the Climate Change Megagame

Amazing transport systems in small town

Most participants came from Sweden, with others from Romania, Great Britain, Canada and Hong Kong. 

The Climate Change Megagame is set in Östergötland for the period 2020 to 2050. As a result of climate change, based on information from the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, the county has been hit by both drought and large forest fires.
“Some of what happened in the game was rather unexpected. The small town of Kinda, for example, became the centre of amazing transport systems. It was on the line for high-speed trains, and an airport for electrical flight was built there. The companies in Kinda judged it to be important to have good transport facilities, so they were willing to contribute to the infrastructure costs.”
Ola Leifler is satisfied with the result.
“I think it was a great success. The game worked well and it stimulated the type of discussion that we had hoped for. The participants took their roles as researcher or company seriously, and tried to find collaboration partners. Some researchers from Cambridge and other locations who also work with megagames took part. They were highly impressed by the event, and we are now thinking about collaboration in the future.”
The next step for the project is to seek research grants, from sources such as the Swedish Energy Agency.
“One of the ideas of the project is that the Climate Change Megagame will become a platform to learn about the preconditions for realigning energy systems and society in general.”

Translated by George Farrants

Photo credit David IsakssonOla Leifler 

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