The California Carbon Challenge: Connecting Californians to Climate Solutions

Online carbon cutting simulator lets users pick strategies to cut greenhouse gas emissions

May 29, 2013, 10:30 ET from Next 10

SAN FRANCISCO, May 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- California has long been a leader in its efforts to simultaneously address climate change and grow the economy. Starting today, Californians will be able to choose their favorite strategies to continue that progress, with a new, interactive online game called the California Carbon Challenge (, created by Next 10 (, a leading nonpartisan, nonprofit research group.  

The California Carbon Challenge is the latest interactive Next 10 simulator. The California Budget Challenge ( has allowed more than 340,000 users to create a state budget - virtually - by growing or cutting services and raising or reducing taxes. More than 100,000 users have taken Next 10's newer Federal Budget Challenge (

In 2006, California enacted groundbreaking policies that require the state to reduce its carbon emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. Carbon Challenge users are presented with choices to meet this goal, so that they – not lawmakers or government administrators – can make the tough calls about addressing the state's climate challenges virtually.   

"We created the California Carbon Challenge to show what the challenges and opportunities for reducing emissions are, and to also engage and inform people who are trying to better understand what these policies do," said Next 10 founder F. Noel Perry

The new site presents users with more than two-dozen strategies - from developing transit-oriented housing plans, to pay-as-you-drive insurance, to boosting energy efficiency in buildings. The Challenge keeps track of the choices being made and their impacts via an interactive meter showing tons of carbon reduced and the costs or savings for those choices. 

The policy options included in the Carbon Challenge fall into eight categories: vehicle technologies, driving costs, mass transit, alternatives to driving, green buildings, smart growth, government operations, and energy users and producers. Some of the choices – including time of day electricity pricing, or the requirement that state and local agencies use only Zero Emission Vehicles or plug-in hybrids – are not among the state policies being implemented at this time. Other options, like implementing a carbon trading market, are already underway in California.

The site provides users with pro and con arguments about each policy choice, as well as information about who – individuals, businesses, or government - would bear the possible costs or benefits. Users can leave comments about their choices, find out what percentage of other site visitors chose the same options, and share their decisions on social media and with policymakers. 

Next 10 based its estimates of emissions reductions and the cost or savings of various measures on the best research and modeling available, while also noting the difficulty of achieving complete certainty about the impacts of complex policies that will take effect over years or decades.

"The Carbon Challenge presents policy choices and their impacts specific to the state of California. However, we hope this resource can be a learning tool for people in other states and countries who are considering policies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions," said Perry.

Bloggers & Web Editors: Want to include a link to the California Carbon Challenge in your next story? Graphics are available upon request.

Next 10 ( is an independent, nonpartisan organization focused on innovation and the intersection between the economy, the environment, and quality of life issues for all Californians. Next 10 funds research by leading experts on complex state issues.

Contact: Roxanna Smith, 510-326-0390


SOURCE Next 10