Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Monday, December 20, 2021

High school students develop climate change simulations

Wisconsin Energy Institute Outreach Coordinator Allison Bender guides Madison West High School students through a climate simulation. Wisconsin Energy Institute Outreach Coordinator Allison Bender guides Madison West High School students through a climate simulation.

To extend the reach of the La Follette Forum on Climate Policy, approximately 100 Madison West High School students participated in virtual climate change simulations with the Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI) November 23.

WEI Research and Education Coordinator Scott Williams (MPA ’10) and Outreach Coordinator Allison Bender guided the students through the En-ROADS (Energy-Rapid Overview and Decision-Support) Climate Change Solutions Simulator. Using the simulator, the students developed scenarios for limiting future global warming.

UW–Madison’s Robert F. and Jean E. Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies funded the event, which was organized by the La Follette School and WEI. Nearly 300 policymakers, practitioners, community leaders, and researchers attended the second annual La Follette Forum on October 6 in Madison.

“We were thrilled to partner with WEI, the Holtz Center, and West High School to bring this experience to the students,” says La Follette School Director and Professor Susan Webb Yackee. “The simulation allowed them to see how evidence-based policymaking paired with scientific technologies can generate solutions for the problems we are trying to solve as a society. We hope it inspired students to become leaders in the fight against climate change.”

Scott Girard of the Capital Times attended the first session of the day and captured the students’ excitement in this article.