Hacking Carbon Emissions Into Minecraft

Saving the planet's all very well, but it's not always the most fun thing in the world. Games, however, are fun. Why not combine the two?

Luckily, AMEE can support both! My favourite game at the moment is Minecraft, which (amongst other things) involves using resources to make things, and quite often burning them to do so. Seems like it might be a good fit...

So, at the Stockholm Green Hackathon last weekend, I hacked up a mod for Minecraft that adds carbon emissions, but instead of just putting in some random numbers for it, I used AMEEconnect to get real scientific data from the IPCC in there.

When you burn some wood in a furnace, the mod calls out to AMEEconnect to do a calculation, and adds the result to a tracker in-game. As the carbon ticks up, the environment gets more and more polluted as the skies go dark and the clouds come down. OK, not entirely accurate, but an effective visual indicator!

Of course, it's not just wood. Loads of things burn, and not just in furnaces. The hack supports combustion of almost anything in Minecraft; wood, planks, coal, tree saplings, and so on. I even put in some calculations for setting fire to cows (as any Minecraft player knows, an effective way to quickly get cooked beef). Even the hostile mobs like creepers have their emissions mapped (mostly to generic biomass calculations). I also added redstone (like electricity) emissions using AMEE's realtime UK national grid data.

There are also ways to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Plant a tree, and AMEEconnect will work out how much carbon was taken up by the tree growing and reduce the tracker by that amount. After a long day of mining and smelting, you'll have to go plant a few trees to keep the weather nice.

Check out the videos for the full story. Warning: May contain burning cows!

James Smith is Platform Evangelist for AMEE, a company dedicated to making environmental data more accessible. He's normally to be found writing code that attempts to make the world a better place. He is tweeting at: @Floppy.

Republished with permission.


    Considering my world is powered by about 8 coal furnaces constantly smelting cobble to rock, my main food supply is killing cows/pigs with a sword that sets fire to them, and we have a table that uses no less then about 50 pistons just to lift off the ground... If I installed this mod the whole world would just, die.

      ha, my play style is very different to yours!

      yup in single player i play a nomad and live in small dirt houses, igloos too.

    Such a great idea!

    If I remember correctly my mountain base was a diamond castle with copious amounts of flaming lava down the sides. Considering how much of the environment I'd already burnt, I think it's safe to say carbon emissions were the least of my worries.

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