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Simulation of international negotiations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

David Hastings, Eckerd College , From the On the Cutting Edge activity collection

In this activity, students engage in a simulation of the international negotiation process in order to convey how the international community is responding to climate change. Participants learn firsthand about the interests of different countries and the range of policy responses to mitigate future climate change.

Activity takes four class periods plus homework assignments.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Humans can take action
About Teaching Climate Literacy
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Humans affect climate
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Climate change has consequences
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Energy Literacy

Environmental quality is impacted by energy choices.
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7.3 Environmental quality.
Increasing demand for and limited supplies of fossil fuels affects quality of life.
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7.4 Fossil fuel supplies are limited.
Humans transfer and transform energy from the environment into forms useful for human endeavors.
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4.1 Humans transfer and transform energy.
Energy decisions are influenced by political factors.
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5.5 Political factors.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

4. Personal and Civic Responsibility:A) Understanding societal values and principles
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A) Understanding societal values and principles.
4. Personal and Civic Responsibility:B) Recognizing citizens' rightrs and responsiblities
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B) Recognizing citizens' rightrs and responsiblities.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.3 Humans and Their Societies:A) Individuals and groups
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A) Individuals and groups.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.3 Humans and Their Societies:B) Culture
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B) Culture.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.3 Humans and Their Societies:C) Political and economic systems
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C) Political and economic systems.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.3 Humans and Their Societies:D) Global Connections
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D) Global Connections.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.3 Humans and Their Societies:E) Change and conflict
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E) Change and conflict.

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • In the overview lecture about the current status of global climate change negotiations, educator should supplement with most recent developments and examples of summits.
  • Showing a video of an international negotiation might be a nice wrap-up for the course module.
  • Update the worksheet with the most up-to-date resources; a lot of the relevant information can be found here: http://unfccc.int/.
  • High school educators may want to have groups of students work together to represent a nation.

About the Science

  • Activity prompts students to do their own research about the current status of climate change negotiations and standpoints. Some examples are out of date (2006), but this is irrelevant since the activity itself centers on current research. However, instructor may want to update the instructions and replace old examples with recent ones.
  • Activity may reveal misconceptions about energy use and policy among learners and provide educator with chance to correct them.
  • Provides very detailed and clear instructions and sources for supplemental information URLs and a book list. To get the most recent information, use the provided links to update the information.
  • Comment from expert scientist: relies on top science at the time of the associated COP (COP12)

About the Pedagogy

  • Engaging activity that allows students to explore viewpoints and perspectives that may be different than their own.
  • Students of different learning styles will be engaged with the research of information, report writing, negotiating and presenting of materials.
  • Activity leans heavily on independent research by students.
  • Important emphasis in effective oral communication and persuasion.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • All material is provided; well-structured, detailed materials available.

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