Interactive world climate simulation at Hutchinson Center April 27

Apr 16, 2018

Belfast — Have you ever thought about what it might be like to sit at a table of nearly 200 negotiators representing countries from all over the world negotiating about climate policy?

University of Maine graduate students Anna McGinn and Will Kochtitzky, who attended the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, last November, will facilitate a two-hour, interactive simulation of World Climate Negotiations Friday, April 27, at 5 p.m. at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center. They will be aided by professor Molly Schauffler of the UMaine School of Earth and Climate Sciences.

During the two-hour guided, interactive simulation, which is free and open to the public, participants will experience how climate negotiations work. They will experience how negotiators interact and what decisions they need to make in order to agree on commitments that will reduce global carbon emissions sufficiently to meet the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming to “well-below 2°C.”

The session is designed to deepen participants’ insights into the climate negotiation process and the nature of the challenges that a rapidly changing climate pose to the world’s citizens and governments. Participants are assigned a country (or regional country block) to represent, and are given background information about the country. The simulation proceeds through three “formal” negotiation sessions, with time to regroup and negotiate informally with other countries between the formal negotiation sessions.

The collective task is to agree on commitments and time frame to reduce greenhouse gases, increase forestation, and contribute to a global Green Climate Fund to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Commitments pledged by participants are fed into a climate policy simulation model, C-ROADS, which predicts the impact of the commitments on global temperature. The world climate simulation activity and the C-ROADS model were developed by the organization Climate Interactive in partnership with the MIT Sloan School of Management and the Climate Change Initiative at UMass Lowell (https://www.climateinteractive.org/).

The simulation activity and model have been used to bring international climate negotiations to life with public audiences and school groups in over 850 events in 74 countries around the world since 2015.

Participants do not need any particular background knowledge; information needed will be provided at the outset of the activity. They also will have quick access to data about countries as their questions arise during the simulation.

Facilitators McGinn and Kochtitzky are graduate students in the Climate Change Institute. McGinn is studying climate policy, and how people are adapting to the impacts of climate change at the international level and at a local level using a case study in Nicaragua. Kochtitzky is studying why glaciers in Alaska become unstable, how they are responding to climate change, and why they contribute more to sea level rise than any other group of mountain glaciers on Earth.

Schauffler coordinates science programing at the Hutchinson Center, and works with middle and high school teachers to improve data literacy and climate education.

The event is a collaboration among the University of Maine Hutchinson Center, the School for Policy and International Affairs, and the Climate Change Institute. The Climate Change Institute is an interdisciplinary research unit at UMaine that includes climate research related to oceans, glaciers, archaeology, anthropology, ecosystems, geochemistry, renewable energy, climate prediction and modeling, and climate change impacts, policy, and sustainability.

The School for Policy and International Affairs is a master’s program at the University of Maine with focuses in commerce and trade, international environmental governance, and security.

For more information, please contact Diana McSorley, 338-8093 or diana.mcsorley@maine.edu.

 

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