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Dickinson to Durban » Summer Reading Responses » Learning to Compromise

Learning to Compromise

In roughly nine short weeks, the students of the Climate Change Africa Mosaic will be attending the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP-17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  As this event draws nearer, it’s time we figure out exactly what goes on throughout this important meeting.  Negotiations, political discussions, and potential solutions are all things what we should have a firm understanding of before we attend the conference.

World Climate Simulation Graph

As an aide to this understanding, last week, we participated in the World Climate simulation exercise.  Each person was a representative of a Developed Nation, Rapidly Developing Nation, or Developing Nation; for example, I represented South Africa, in the Rapidly Developing Nations category.  Each category was provided with a chart, in which we imputed our expectations for CO2 emission reductions, or productions, deforestation and afforestation efforts, etc.  The simulation then calculates an estimated amount of CO2 in the atmosphere overtime with the decided negotiations.

After completing numerous rounds of compromising and negotiating, we soon began to realize that first, cooperating as diplomatic officials was much more difficult than originally thought; and secondly, we realized how difficult it would be to reach an effective decision that would actually have an affect on slowing, or preventing dangerous effects of global climate change.  Frequent controversies occurred during negotiations.  The most copious arguments were regarding funds from Developed Nations to both the Rapidly Developing Nations and Developing Nations.

Example Graph: CO2 Concentration in the Atmosphere. This graph displays how difficult it is to reach safe levels (350-450) of CO2 in the atmosphere.

When funds went from $100 billion the first round of negotiations to around $3 trillion, it was fairly obvious that our group had little understanding of the value of a dollar.  It seems we have a lot to learn before attending COP-17.  With more research, our simulation had the potential to be much more realistic, engaging, and informative.  The simulation provided an excellent representation of what kinds of negotiations go on during the Conference of the Parties through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meetings.  With further knowledge of our own countries, financial status, development plans, and historical environmental accounts, this simulation would have been more beneficial.

Participating in the World Climate simulation was highly informative and absolutely formed a better awareness of the controversies, funding privations, and difficulties in agreements that may occur while we attend COP-17.  We have now developed a better understanding how compromise works; it sure isn’t easy.

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