From the game description on BGG: If the pollution isn't stopped, it's game over for all of us.
Well, we've got a clear start on the political views of the designer. The science is settled. As I recall, Australia recently laid off several climate scientists due to that unscientific idea. Of course, when one places emphasis on politics instead of science as a scientist, you end up with bad science and bad politics.
The players are supplying power for the continents, and the amount required increases each round. Each continent has a certain number of CEPs(carbon emission permits). As this starts in the 70's, that's not realistic, as verification would be next to impossible. The game also has the companies as responsible for reforestation, as if the number of trees on Earth is diminishing(certain regions, perhaps, but the USA has more trees now than in 1776. Thanks lumber industry.) It's clearly not a simulation, but a politicized game(albeit one with a good reputation on BGG).
Points are given for various tech summits, and there are government subsidies as well, so there's a legitimization of political favors, and appealing to authority. This is a decent reflection of reality, but it's bad government and bad science(remember Solyndra?). The fact is, when a technology is mature enough, there's plenty of incentive for it, as it will be more profitable, and reinforce a reputation for innovation. Yes, innovation matters when companies have to compete for who buys from them, as some will choose a small local company, some will choose cheap, and some will choose to reward the company with the innovation against pollution. Sounds like an economics game might be a better sim to me.
Why has this game been lauded? It fits the narrative, whether or not the science actually works. Most climate change proponents ignore the fact that our recorded data on temperatures only goes back about 300-400 years. Scientists tell them temperature can be inferred from CO2 levels in ice(good luck getting an accurate dating on that, when you have no clue how much ice was added/subtracted to Antarctica each year). The climatologists at the NOAA have been adjusting previously recorded data for years, and the climate advocates have ignored it. I'm not making any statement about the gameplay as gameplay, as I haven't played it.
Please note: This essay is not against pursuit of technology that will reduce or reverse pollution. There is a proper level of responsibility, and that includes reversing some damage that has already occurred. There is a balance, and it's not easy.
When you play Social Justice, the world loses.