Members of San Lorenzo High’s Earth Team participated in round two of Earth Team’s mock UN Climate Negotiations this month. The negotiations were once again unsuccessful, but that doesn’t mean the team didn’t have a good time and learn a lot about the pitfalls of global geopolitics.
Interns were split into groups for various countries, from high-income and high-emission countries like the US or Germany to low-income and low-emission countries like Angola and Palau. The teams then set about trying to negotiate global carbon emissions down to levels that would only increase global temperatures by 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. These negotiations were complicated by the presence of interns playing the roles of various industry and lobbying groups, like the oil industry and environmental nonprofits.
In the end, no group wanted to give up enough to reduce emissions to the levels we needed to avert catastrophic climate change. Teams were instructed to be in-character and reflect the economic and social trends in their countries, so negotiations were difficult. By the end of the two hour session, things were moving in the right direction, but we ran out of time before a successful reduction in emissions could be negotiated.
The team once again had fun participating in these negotiations. They learned a lot about the difficulties of complex negotiations and the various interests that can take hold in these types of discussions. This was Earth Team’s second attempt at climate negotiations this year, and though we were unsuccessful in reducing emissions both times, these events were successful in educating and entertaining our team members.