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Dickinson to Durban » Environmental Politics » Finding the “middle ground”

Finding the “middle ground”

Solving the problem of climate change is an extremely difficult task when trying to negotiate with hundreds of other nation states, not to mention NGO’s, advocacy groups, etc. Every group has their own priorities of what they want from the negotiations and trying to find a middle ground can seem impossible.

Our class, along with a first year seminar class, attempted to do what the world has yet been unable to do; find the elusive “middle ground”. Going into this I definitely had a lot more knowledge of the real process then the average student, which helped to keep me realistic about the possibility of agreement. We were split up into 3 different groups of “developed” “rapidly developing” and “other developing” countries and were charged with agreeing on reductions for each of our blocs. In the first round of negotiations, most of the blocs were unsure of what reduction levels to attempt and how much to ask of other countries. Then once we moved onto the second round of negotiations, people became much more attached to and aggressive with their demands. This caused there to be more heated debates over the ethics of the negotiations and how much the different blocs should be required to contribute. We ended up with a somewhat close agreement though still were unable to stay below the required CO2 concentrations.

I was actually surprised we even were able to come to this close of an agreement. Knowing the controversy that comes from assigning responsibility for dealing with climate change, I expected much more debate. I definitely agree with the suggestion by Emily Bowie in her post that “naivety breeds cooperation”. If all of our blocs knew more about our countries and they’re individual needs, there would have been much fiercer fighting. Trying to balance the incredibly diverse needs of just the different blocs is a huge challenge. Overall I think the experience was a great reminder of how difficult it is to come to a consensus on global issues such as this.



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One Response to "Finding the “middle ground”"

  1. sam pollan says:

    I like how you started with a glance at the global negotiations. It puts the whole exercise in perspective. Also, the phrase “naivety breeds cooperation” is so fitting for what we did. As soon as people realized exactly what they were asking for during the activity, they realized how absurd it sounded, especially after the first round of negotiations.

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