Lesson 3.1 Global Climate Change Debate



Global climate change policy, determined through the Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has been largely ineffective in stemming the growing tide of GHGs being released into the atmosphere. World leaders have convened at the COP many times without developing effective policies and strategies to stabilise the atmospheric concentration of GHGs at a level that would prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. In this lesson, you will adopt the roles of some of the major stakeholders in global climate change negotiations in order to get a sense of what different groups are negotiating for at the COP. By the end of this lesson, you will be able to: * Understand the many obstacles and challenges that hinder arriving at an international consensus on a complicated, multifaceted issue such as climate change. * Explain the rationale behind the positions and agendas of different nations at the international climate change negotiations. * Describe how climate change will disproportionally impact countries in certain regions and socioeconomic circumstances. * Understand the importance of climate change negotiations and the urgency to develop strong global climate change legislation. * Understand climate change in a broader global context. Assignment 1 1. In teams, you will be adopting the position of one of the four stakeholder groups described in the handout Global Climate Change Debate Roles. You should also refer to the Model United Nations website for tips on how to prepare for a conference. 2. Use the following list of questions in order to prepare your speech for the negotiations: * What do you want to get out of the negotiations? * Which countries are your allies? * What is at stake if you do not achieve your goals? * Which countries stand in the way of getting what you want? 3. Develop a list of key talking points as well as an opening statement. 4. Once the groups have had time to prepare, commence the negotiations with the following statement: “We have gathered here today to decide upon a global agreement in response to the climate crisis. UN climate change scientists have recommended that we reduce the global atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide to 350 ppm. However, it is up to you, as leaders of the world’s nations, to decide how to proceed from here. We will now hear opening statements.” 5. Read your opening statements. Your instructor will facilitate the negotiations. 6. After the debate, engage in class discussion about the debate experience. Consider the following questions: * Why are some parts of the globe more affected by climate change than others? What are some of the reasons for this? * What changes will take place in different regions of the globe if climate change persists? * What are the COP and the UNFCCC and why are they important? * What are some of the difficulties involved in creating an international climate agreement? * What are potential sources of conflict at the upcoming COP, such as obstacles to setting hard targets for emissions reductions? * Is it fair to ask one country to sacrifice economic growth to ensure the survival of another country? Assignment 2 1. Review the handout, The True Costs of Consumption. 2. Using figures in the handout as supporting information, write a post in the student blogs section in response to the following question: How should international climate policies address differences in consumption patterns between nations?

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