Project Report:
Citizen Climate Cost Project
- Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.
- Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
- Explores and develops market-based solutions.


The Citizen Climate Cost Project (CCCP) consists of a high school teaching module that includes an interactive game on the economics of climate change, complementary classroom lesson materials, and an experiential exercise requiring students to go out into their communities and collect stories and data from individuals who have been personally and financially impacted by climate-related events. Students will then synthesize classroom learning and field interviews into a data rich and emotionally affecting capstone video project that will be part of an inter-high school competition.

The CCCP aims to produce three primary products: 1) a replicable high school teaching module on climate change costs; 2) short videos showing how climate change is personally impacting American communities that can be shared on social media; and 3) the first open access and “bottom up” database on local climate change costs. The project will start with a pilot in three New Jersey high schools.


Over the last year, the Citizen Climate Cost Project successfully recruited and trained the pilot teachers and designed a unique lesson module to accompany and contextualize the interview assignment. Specifically, the interactive climate economics game (Just Pollute!!) and software program needed to implement it were finalized, and a companion “101” chapter on the environmental economics of climate change was written, complete with a discussion guide and additional teacher resources. We have also created the online survey instrument and licensed the game in response to requests from schools interested in purchasing it.

The CCCP’s director and deputy director were invited last fall to be visiting researchers at Rutgers University, and have the project become formally affiliated with the University’s Program in Science Learning, and its fiscal sponsor (OSI) will be featuring the project in their annual report to their board.

Over the course of the year, the game was pre-tested and developed in 11 environmental science high school classes, 3 economic high school classes, and 3 environmental science college classes. Through the pre-testing, and experience training the pilot teachers (environmental science instructors), the Project learned that there is high demand for both the game and the module, both from high school teachers and college professors. Visits to schools where we pre-tested the game were met with enthusiasm and requests to purchase the software (as mentioned above), and the pilot teachers are enthusiastic and committed.


The project focuses on collecting data on the economic costs of climate change, which impact the productivity and functioning of the market economy in multiple ways. For example, some climate impacts include (but are by no means limited to): damaged natural, social, and physical capital stocks (and therefore economic productivity and growth); straining local, state, and federal budgets in disaster relief; contributing to potential civil unrest and social dislocation (e.g. through increased food prices, displaced workers, migration); supply chain interferences (e.g. transportation disruptions from extreme weather events, water shortages); significant health care costs (e.g. death and injury from extreme weather events, spread of infectious disease); unpriced carbon externalities that artificially subsidize high polluting energy sources over low or zero emission sources.


The project for which we are seeking funding is the pilot that will be in New Jersey. If the pilot is successful, we envision a second expanded pilot phase to include more New Jersey schools and perhaps neighboring states. The final stage will be national in scope.

Amounts Approved
$10,000.00 on 8/24/2015 (Check sent: 9/1/2015)
$10,000.00 on 11/13/2015 (Check sent: 11/25/2015)

Student scientist
High school student at the Marine Academy of Science and Technology conducts research at Sandy Hook, NJ.

Student scientist

1350 Broadway, Suite 201
New York, NY 10018


(212) 290-8200 ext 307


Laurie T Johnson
Director, Citizen Climate Cost Project, Open Space Institute, Inc.

Posted 8/12/2015 7:06 PM
Updated   3/27/2016 7:57 PM

  • Nonprofit

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