Carnegie Mellon University
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Human Perceptions of Climate Change

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journal contribution
posted on 2008-07-01, 00:00 authored by Varun Dutt, Cleotilde GonzalezCleotilde Gonzalez
This paper presents an interactive simulation of the effects of emissions and absorptions of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. The interactive simulation based on the “bathtub” metaphor, was built using the Dynamic Integrated Climate Economy model (DICE)-1992. The interactive tool allows participants to make decisions on the anthropogenic CO2 emissions, observe the consequences of the decisions and try new decisions. In a laboratory experiment, we tested the participants’ ability to control the CO2 concentration to a realistic amount in the atmosphere over a period of 100 to 200 years. Participants worked on one of two extreme conditions: one rapid, where transfer rate of carbon dioxide was 1.6% per year with CO2 emission decisions made every 2 years, and other slow, where transfer rate of carbon dioxide was 1.2% per year with CO2 emission decisions made every 4 years. Due to human incapacity to handle feedback delays and their use of faulty heuristics, we expected participants to find the slow condition harder to control as compared to the rapid condition. Results show that participants had more difficulty achieving control of CO2 concentration to goal in face of slower dynamics than rapid dynamics. Implications and future of our research findings are discussed.




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