It was just a game, but some of the participants played for keeps.
In July 2008, the Center for a New American Security hosted an international climate change “war game” to explore the national security implications of global climate change. Elements of the game will be featured in the ABC prime time documentary “Earth 2100”  on June 2, 2009.
Military organizations and businesses around the world have long used such exercises to anticipate future developments and manage risk and uncertainty – and to test how plans, strategies, and ideas may hold up in a range of plausible futures. Generally, the lessons of these games have less to do with the “product” within the game than with the process of playing. So while the Climate Change War Game did not result in a fictitious international agreement that would cut greenhouse gases in China and transfer resources for adaptation from the United States to India, the debates and developments in the course of having such discussions were illuminating.
While some players left keenly disappointed that the event produced no breakthrough agreement or did not focus sufficiently on adaptation, those disappointments are, themselves, important lessons and exactly the reason organizations engage in such exercises.
To view summary findings from CNAS, click here . All of the game materials are posted on this page (scroll down below to 'Publications') – the pre-game briefing books for participants which include the background scenarios, the “moves” of the game, and materials generated in the course of the exercise – in addition to a policy brief of major findings. We encourage researchers and educational institutions to use these materials to stage similar games!