How can we best explore how to make progress on climate change, how much progress we’ve made to date, and why? At the Climatographers, we have extensively used the jigsaw puzzle frame shown in the cartoon at right for discussing the climate change problem. The idea of a 1,000,000 jigsaw puzzle is a great way to understand intuitively the challenges of successfully addressing climate change. The jigsaw puzzle frame also contributes, however, to the huge “siloing” problem we face when it comes to climate change. Everyone works on their specific piece of the puzzle. Everyone believes that their puzzle piece is the most important. As a result, they have little interest in learning about other puzzle pieces, or in working towards strategic cooperation between pieces.
That’s why chess is so useful an alternative way to frame the climate change problem. Climate Chess differs from ordinary chess. It isn’t played on a conventional chessboard, there are many players, and the two sides do not have the same number or kinds of chess pieces.
The chess frame aptly characterizes the complicated and strategic challenges of climate change. In Climate Chess, the pieces on one side represent efforts to rapidly push towards a low-carbon economy; the pieces on the opposing side represent barriers to rapidly transitioning to a global low-carbon economy.
There are only two teams active in Climate Chess: “Team Urgency” and “Team No Urgency.” The game is complicated, however, by the many players on each team, the many motivations driving them, and the enormous number of pieces on the board (we identify more than 100 in the Climate Web). Like conventional chess, the “opportunity landscape” for each chess piece to move forward is constantly shifting on the board.
To help users explore the idea behind Climate Chess, the Climate Chess Dashboard profiles a few specific chess pieces in the view below.
The Climate Web also explores the larger topic of Climate Chess in much more depth:
- Identifying more than 100 Team Climate Urgency chess pieces
- Identifying the numerous players (just) on Team Climate Urgency
- Sorting through the motivations of Team Climate Urgency
Climate Chess is a complicated game. It’s a critical game to understand, however, if we want to more successfully tackle climate change.
As is the case throughout the Climate Web, hovering over a thumbnail graphic in the view above expands it to become easily readable. The filled-in green circles to the left of each thought indicate that additional materials are available there. Click on individual thoughts to see those materials and to access any URLs or PDFs that show up in the Notes field.
To back up to a prior view at any time, click on the “breadcrumb trail” at the bottom, or simply backspace in your browser. To return to the original Climate Chess Dashboard view at any time click here.