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Poke it, prod it, break it – help us to make a great Global Calculator

Close observers of DECC will know about the UK’s 2050 calculator, and the unexpected benefits of being open with it: it has been adapted by the governments of India, China and several others (and watch this space for news about Japan, developments in China, and launches by other countries towards Christmas).

But that was all an unexpected bonus. When we chose to make the UK work open, we did so because we wanted experts to dive in, check the work out, tell us where it was wrong and tell us how to make it better. We got that. We’ve found it to be immensely rewarding to be part of the Government’s move to be be more open and transparent.

Really close observers of DECC will know that we (1) have started work, in partnership with Climate-KIC, on a Global Calculator. It allows you to see the impacts of the different lifestyles we lead, the different energy systems we might build, and the different ways we might use our land. The impacts it will show include climate change, use of fossil fuel reserves and (when we’ve finished) costs.

Like the UK Calculator, it is an Excel spreadsheet, together with an online interface and documentation. And, like the UK calculator, we’ve reached the stage where we want feedback. Particularly feedback from experts who know something about the global climate or energy systems.

We’ve published the draft Excel, which contains every assumption and every calculation. We’ve published the draft online interface. We’ve published draft documentation. We’ve even published the source code to the software that takes the spreadsheet and creates the online interface. We think we’ve created the most open global energy model in the world.

We’d love you to take a look. Dig around. Spot the bugs that no doubt exist. Then tell us how to fix it and make it better.

The only thing we don’t want you to do is to draw any conclusions from it. At least, not yet. With something as complex as this, it is likely to be wrong. Which is why we want you to help us make it better.

Once we’ve got your feedback, we’ll do our best to incorporate it in time for a December release, which should be better in every way and, with luck, ready for people to use and to figure out what they think should be built. And, from there, who knows? Being open with the UK calculator led us to unexpected places. I look forward to the same with its global sibling.

(1) We are a DECC led team, co-funded by Climate-KIC, drawing upon experts from the Chinese ERI, E&Y India, the IEA, the World Resources Institute, Climact, London School of Economics and Political Science, Imperial College London and the Climate Media Factory.

One Response to “Poke it, prod it, break it – help us to make a great Global Calculator”

  1. […] As Tom trailed last week, Japan has launched their ’2050 Low Carbon Navigator’. You can access it in Japanese and, fortunately for me, in English and read all about why and how they built it. […]

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