Climatic Change

, Volume 149, Issue 3–4, pp 319–333 | Cite as

Effectiveness of gaming for communicating and teaching climate change

  • Jasper N. MeyaEmail author
  • Klaus Eisenack


Games are increasingly proposed as an innovative way to convey scientific insights on the climate-economic system to students, non-experts, and the wider public. Yet, it is not clear if games can meet such expectations. We present quantitative evidence on the effectiveness of a simulation game for communicating and teaching international climate politics. We use a sample of over 200 students from Germany playing the simulation game KEEP COOL. We combine pre- and postgame surveys on climate politics with data on individual in-game decisions. Our key findings are that gaming increases the sense of personal responsibility, the confidence in politics for climate change mitigation, and makes more optimistic about international cooperation in climate politics. Furthermore, players that do cooperate less in the game become more optimistic about international cooperation but less confident about politics. These results are relevant for the design of future games, showing that effective climate games do not require climate-friendly in-game behavior as a winning condition. We conclude that simulation games can facilitate experiential learning about the difficulties of international climate politics and thereby complement both conventional communication and teaching methods.


Climate change International climate agreements Simulation games Climate change communication Education for sustainable development 



We are especially grateful to Iris Bröse, Marina Dreßler, Laura Hillwig, Swanhild Klink, Benjamin Koller, and Sabine Vogelsang for helping to collect the data. We thank Jürgen Bitzer, Nils Droste, Ulan Kasymor, Dennis Meadows, Lukas Meya, Jonas Ø. Nielsen, Jens Rommel, Dimitrios Zikos, and two anonymous reviewers as well as the selection committees for the German Simulation and Gaming Award, the German National Society for Civic Education’s Treasury for Outstanding Dissertations for helpful comments and suggestions.

Supplementary material

10584_2018_2254_MOESM1_ESM.docx (146 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 145 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of OldenburgOldenburgGermany
  2. 2.Resource Economics GroupHumboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany

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