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Understanding the Complexity of Climate Negotiations

Arroyo High's Earth Team learns about navigating complex negotiations at a mock UN Climate Summit

Saturday morning is usually a time teenagers try to find sleep, but this past Saturday Arroyo High’s Earth Team was busy participating in Mock Climate Negotiations, striving to understand the complexity of debate. Unfortunately, the group of about 30 interns from all Earth Team schools was not able to reach a consensus on how to responsibly reduce global emissions, but they learned a lot along the way. 

The group struggled to agree on ambitious goals for emissions reductions, especially given the outsized role that corporate lobbyists played in the discussions. “It’s very hard to negotiate because sometimes people could be easily swayed by money or there’d be overlapping conversations,” one Arroyo high Intern observed.

The discussions opened with very ambitious targets from developing countries, which are expected to bear the brunt of damages wreaked by climate change. Even with these early ambitions, conflicting goals prevented any strong progress through the negotiations. 

After the event, another Arroyo intern reflected on the event. “I learned that as much as we would like climate change to end, it is sadly very difficult to implement change because it is so expensive and damaging to communities.”

Despite the lack of a successful agreement to end the meeting, the team had a fun time and is eager to try this activity again in the future. 

More information about the activity can be found here.

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