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Mock Environmental Summit

Teaching Materials by Catherine Gautier - Starting Point page by R. Teed (SERC).
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This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project


At the end of a six-week class or unit on global warming, students role-play representatives from various countries and organizations at an international summit on the Santa Barbara protocol, dealing with global warming. The students prepare by studying the IPCC report on Global Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and other information on human impacts on the environment. The course involves several writing assignments, presentations, and lab activities that help the students research their arguments.

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Learning Goals

During this course, students will:
  • Increase their understanding of human impact on Earth's systems, especially on the climate.
  • Develop their persuasive and critical skills as writers and presenters
  • Become more familiar with political decision-making processes.
  • Context for Use

    The role-play in this module takes one period, but it is the culmination of a six-week course.

    Teaching Materials

    The University of California, Santa Barbara's Mock International Summit Course site (Geography 135) contains extensive resources that detail:
    • Information about character types (this information is now password protected and no longer public)
    • Lecture material (as .pdf's) and schedule
    • Lab book (as .pdf's)
    • An annotated list of writing assignments
    • Recommended links and required-reading links
    • The Santa Barbara Protocol (a proposed amendment to the Kyoto Protocol) that the representatives are discussing
    • A great student feedback form

    Teaching Notes and Tips

    This site contains a diverse array of useful material that could be incorporated into an environmental or climate studies course.


    The course has 9 writing assignments, each of which is explained in detail. There are also lab activities and presentations.

    References and Resources

    Interactive role-playing exercises dealing with the complicated issue of humanity's dependence on fossil fuels and its consequences include:

    • Mock Environmental Summit
      At the end of a six-week class or unit on global warming, students role-play representatives from various countries and organizations at an international summit on global warming.

    • The Great Energy Debate
      This lesson plan explores the energy debate in the U.S. Students will hold a mock congressional committee meeting and make decisions about public lands and energy resources.

    • What Should We Do About Global Warming?
      This module contains an 8-lesson curriculum to study greenhouse gases and global warming using data and visualizations. The students will summarize the issue in a mock debate or a presentation.


    Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Climate Change:Public policy , Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Climate Change, Environmental Science:Global Change and Climate:Climate Change:Impacts of climate change, Environmental Science:Policy, Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Climate Change:Impacts of climate change, Environmental Science:Global Change and Climate:Climate Change:Public policy, Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Climatology

    Resource Type

    Activities, Project

    Grade Level

    College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level

    Ready for Use

    Ready to Use, Meets Peer Review Standard:Anonymous Peer Review

    Earth System Topics

    Human Dimensions:Energy, Climate, Human Dimensions:Policy, Atmosphere




    Teach the Earth:Incorporating Societal Issues:Public Policy, Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:Intro Geoscience, Teach the Earth:Incorporating Societal Issues:Climate Change, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Atmospheric Science, Environmental Science