The Logic Model of climate


INPUTS                           OUTPUTS               OUTCOMES               IMPACTS

You might be familiar with Logic Models, a tool of a method called Theory of Change. They are used to plan projects so that you can cause and measure desired outcomes and impacts. When you’ve used  Logic Model, you will have created a ‘theory of change’ or ‘story of change’ for your project. This diagram above imagines what a Logic Model would look like if you planned climate change. One might argue that there have been elements of deliberate action, and diversionary inaction, so that in some ways climate change impacts are a logical outcome of an extractive economy. Unfortunately, not only does this Logic Model show what could happen if you planned it. It shows what is already happening.

The causes and effects of environmental damage and disruption are very complex and uncertain. If you are used to thinking in terms of Inputs, Outputs, Outcomes and Impacts, this diagram can help you explore ways that dimensions of environmental disturbance impact on each other, for example:

  • Disruptive effects of climate disruption (extreme storms, flood, drought, crop disease, forest fires etc)
  • Resource scarcity (food, water, fuel, rare minerals & metals – combined with social inequality – leading to more conflict)
  • Chemical pollution (marine pollution, pesticides, industrial & consumer waste etc)
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem loss (acidification of oceans, deforestation, land use etc)

They impact on each other, for example, where:

  • Climate disruption makes ecosystems more susceptible to chemical pollution.
  • Deforestation and the loss of plankton in the ocean exacerbates climate change by reducing CO2 sinks.
  • Flooding and drought worsen destruction of ecosystems e.g. coastal wetlands, and affect the production of food.
  • Resource scarcity combined with social inequality leads to conflict and war, which reduces social capacity to regenerate and care for natural resources.
  • There are also feedback effects of climate disruption which itself worsens climate disruption.


Explore in more detail how the elements in the diagram all interconnect. Write down all the effects (e.g. ‘sea level rise’ or ‘floods’) on separate pieces of paper, like dominos. Play with them to join them up wherever you see a connection. Make a big map of all the linkages. You may need to write duplicates if some words, or outcomes and impacts, keep cropping up. What does keep cropping up?

Now, flip it around and make a Logic Model for positive change. How can you put new inputs in to mitigate these outcomes and impacts?