Climate Change Negotiation Role-Play:

Water UseHelping Cities Adapt to Climate Change Risks (I)

Evan Thomas Paul and Jessica Agatstein under the direction of Professor Lawrence Susskind
This is a six-party, multi-issue negotiation game involving environmental, economic, social, and political interests in a city where the water infrastructure is inefficient and not up to the task of coping with extreme water events.


Parties: 6. Time Req'd: 1-2 hrs. Teaching Notes: Yes.

What to Buy?

Login or Register to download the free packages.

 

OVERVIEW:

River and stream levels have been remarkably volatile in the region around Evantown for the past decade, reaching record highs and lows. The major source of water both for the city and for area businesses and industry is the Foltz river, which experienced notably high water levels three years ago but has fallen to record lows for the past two years. A drought in 2008 brought the issue to a head as the city of Evantown was forced to implement a water conservation initiative due to low water levels. The mayor has now convened five key stakeholders to discuss the three major decisions that will impact future use of the river – whether or nor to increase water allocations to several different actos, whether and how to invest in improving the efficiency of the water infrastructure, and whether and how to improve residential water use efficiency. A key criterion in determining the merit of a particular set of options is how seriously the group takes the most extreme projected impacts of climate change.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • In a changing climate, rainfall and resulting water levels may become more volatile— floods and droughts are both likely to be more intense at different times of the year. The efficient and effective use of freshwater resources will therefore be a key planning issue.
  • Major infrastructure decisions will have to be made despite the uncertainty of future conditions. Taking climate projections into account when designing infrastructure is particularly important because infrastructure is usually intended to be in place for several decades. Each city will need to discuss how conservative it wishes to be in regard to projected risk. The most successful adaptation planning efforts by cities thus far seem to be those aimed at reducing climate change risk as part of ongoing infrastructure planning, growth management, and capital budgeting activities.
  • Whenever possible, it is critical that cities use data to guide adaptation planning, such as hydrological modeling of water resources. Climate models are becoming more accurate and can be downscaled to regional levels. For some areas, these models predict more frequent and more intense storms; the resultant flooding events will impact existing and future development.
  • Regulations from the state and federal level will impact how local governments respond, and local laws may need to be changed in response. Cities can use changes in federal and state regulations as opportunities to assess existing city regulations, spur conversation and education around climate change adaptation, and create city-specific updates to local codes.
  • Finally, stakeholders will place different priorities on various short- and long-term goals for your city, some of which will conflict. A short-term goal may be real estate development for economic growth, while a long-term goal may be urban growth management to protect valuable natural resources. Conducting role-playing games around issues of climate change adaptation can help to broaden perspectives, facilitate discussion, enhance scenario-planning, and work toward “no-regrets” solutions in which all priorities are met.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

This game is one of an initial set of three games that the MIT Science Impact Collaborative has developed to illustrate the need to consider climate change in existing policy debates such as how to improve the condition of a city’s housing stock, rather than only tackling climate change as a separate and comprehensive issue. The other two games written for this series include Heat Islands and Flooding.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

For all parties:

  • General Instructions

 

Role Specific:

Confidential Instructions to the player negotiating for:

  • Mayor J. Gray
  • Alliance for Evantown’s Environment and Ecology (AEEE)
  • Evantown Water and Sewer Commission
  • Evantown Agricultural Association
  • Evantown Residents’ Association
  • Evantown Chamber of Commerce

 

Teacher’s Package:

  • All of the above
  • Teaching Note

 

KEYWORDS/ THEMES:

Climate change; Adaptation; Housing; Multiparty negotiating; Public dispute resolution

 

SIMILAR SIMULATIONS:

Flooding

Heat Islands

 

Water Use Attributes

Time required:
1-2 hours
Number of participants:
6
Teams involved:
No
Agent present:
None
Neutral third party present:
Facilitator
Scoreable:
No
Teaching notes available:
Yes
Author:
PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

Close window

Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You are then permitted to view the document on your computer and either print the number of copies you purchased, or forward the electronic file as many times as the number of copies you purchased. You will only receive a link to one electronic file per document. So, if you order 25 soft copies, you may either forward copies of the link to 25 people via e-mail, or print (and/or photocopy) 25 hard copies of the document.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

The purchase price and handling fee are the same for both soft and hard copies. Soft copies do not entail a shipping fee.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, then you should order a single Teacher’s Package for that role simulation. A PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package is also available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. There is no need to order participant materials as well as a Teacher’s Package, as all Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters. Please note that the materials in Teacher’s Packages are for the instructor’s review and reference only, and may not be duplicated for use with participants.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

If you wish to order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Participant Copies.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required; the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Participant Copies.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.