Climate computer game lets you decide Earth's fate

LONDON (Reuters) - Ever wondered how one person could save the planet from the effects of climate change? A British-made computer game on trial release on Monday creates different ways of doing just that.

‘Fate of the World’ puts the Earth’s future in players’ hands, placing them in charge of an international environmental body which could save the world from the effects of rising greenhouse gas emissions or let it perish by continuing to rely on emissions-heavy fossil fuels.

Through different scenarios, players can explore options such as geoengineering and alternative energy sources to save the planet from rising temperatures, dwindling natural resources and a growing population over the next 200 years.

A rough cut of the game will be followed by a three-month feedback period from players, with final release due in February next year.

Created by Oxford-based games developer Red Redemption, the game departs from more mainstream action games by using data from real climate models and advice from scientists and economists in Britain and the United States.

“Science data is often inaccessible and we are trying to put players in a position of power and connected with the issues,” Gobion Rowlands, Red Redemption’s founder and chairman told Reuters.

“We are not pushing one particular agenda. There are a range of options, including nuclear power and renewable energy. We are not saying one route is the best route,” he added.

The firm has an advisory board which includes some climate change experts. Myles Allen, head of climate dynamics at Oxford University, contributed the prediction models in the game.

This year, a series of apparent flaws in climate science and the failure of U.N. talks to reach an international deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions appeared to undermine the public’s interest in climate change.

However, games centered on sustainability and human rights have been growing in popularity and are welcomed by green groups as a way of raising awareness.

Using climate change as inspiration for entertainment shows the issue has permeated global culture, which can only be a good thing, Friends of the Earth’s head of climate Mike Childs said. “We need creative industries to work with these big issues as the results can be immensely powerful and can help us to understand what a sustainable future looks and feels like,” said Fiona Bennie, senior sustainability advisor at UK-based non-governmental organization Forum for the Future.

Editing by Paul Casciato