The same folks who brought you the California Budget Challenge – an online exercise that lets you try to set priorities and balance the state budget yourself – now want you to try your hand at balancing climate change with economic growth.
The California Carbon Challenge, by nonpartisan nonprofit Next 10, presents users with more than two-dozen strategies – from developing transit-oriented housing plans, to pay-as-you-drive insurance, to boosting energy efficiency in buildings. The simulator keeps track of the choices being made and their impacts via an interactive meter showing tons of carbon reduced and the costs or savings for those choices.
California has enacted groundbreaking policies that require the state to reduce its carbon emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. The policy options included in Next 10’s Carbon Challenge fall into eight categories: vehicle technologies, driving costs, mass transit, alternatives to driving, green buildings, smart growth, government operations, and energy users and producers. Some of the choices – including time-of-day electricity pricing, or the requirement that state and local agencies use only Zero Emission Vehicles or plug-in hybrids – are not among the state policies being implemented at this time. Other options, like implementing a carbon trading market, are already underway in California.
Site users see pro and con arguments about each policy choice, as well as information about who – individuals, businesses, or government – would bear the possible costs or benefits. Users can leave comments about their choices, find out what percentage of other site visitors chose the same options, and share their decisions on social media and with policymakers.
“We created the California Carbon Challenge to show what the challenges and opportunities for reducing emissions are, and to also engage and inform people who are trying to better understand what these policies do,” Next 10 founder F. Noel Perry said in a news release. “However, we hope this resource can be a learning tool for people in other states and countries who are considering policies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.”