Role-Playing Climate Conference – Day 1 Reflection

After the first set of presentations and starting discussion, what is one aspect of the climate conference that you would either change or one thing that you would do that hasn’t been done? Focus on what will lead to a more successful climate conference. Be as specific as possible, thinking about what you would like to see put into place for Thursday or next week.

18 Responses to “Role-Playing Climate Conference – Day 1 Reflection”

  1. willbennett2012 says:

    It would be a lot smoother if everyone participated. Conversation was largely centered around a few “countries” today, and conversation turned out slightly awkward at times because of this.
    I am interested to see what sort of spark the media provides to the conversation, and whether or not that starts some sort of a stronger debate.
    Primarily I just think it would be a lot better if we made this conference a little bit more of a debate.

  2. Sara Zolnick says:

    I agree with Will. I think the entire class and our individual presentations will benefit largely from full participation. I also think that each country and each bloc needs to find tune their proposals with more influential data instead of numbers that aren’t necessary to the point of this activity. For example, I’m representing the United States and I understand that I need to do a little more research to stabilize my argument. With that being said, I would like to see specific proposals from the other countries that can help us come to a better conclusion. With more exact arguments, the entire class will be able to determine a proposal that works for our nations.
    I want to know exactly how much money the Developing A and B countries need from the Developed countries in order to reduce their emission levels by the percentages that were introduced today. Then, when we all come together again, we will be able to establish a number that will be beneficial to everyone.

  3. Amanda Howland says:

    Today’s hearings were a great start to the climate conference. A lot of information was laid out onto the table which led to a small starting discussion. Unfortunately, only a few countries participated, but that is something I think could be fixed if only we had more time. To spur more discussion I believe that it would have been better if every country could have presented their background information instead of just half of them. I know that we did not have the time to do all of the country’s presentations in a single class, but I believe it would have been beneficial to know each country’s position from square one. For example, only half of each group was allowed to go today, and for Developing A who has 11 countries, it means that the half that went today pretty much represented the entire group until next Tuesday when the rest of the group presents. With more information about every country thrown onto the table, I believe there would have been a lot more discussion and by a lot more people. This conference needs full class participation to really get it going and I believe that the more people who talk will lead to more actual discussion and debate. If only a few people participate, then the discussion could quickly reach a null and we will not know where to continue. Full participation will also hopefully decrease the slight “lag” in conversation today and really keep it going. Also, something that really needs to be discussed in more detail with more consensus is money. Money led to the most debate and issues today, even between the same groups. That topic is going to be very important in the upcoming days and I believe really needs to dissected thoroughly.

  4. Brian Brown says:

    There needs to be some method for framing the discussion and addressing specific areas. The open discussion didn’t seem to have a focus besides backhanded comments, rehashing opening remarks, and chastising others for not having all the information.

    From my one experience in Model UN in high school, each nation would give an opening remark and then discussion would be dictated by a topic being raised and then the floor being opened for anyone to go up and speak about said topic. Maybe this would be a better way then having two students going back and forth over a null point. It would also allows students to enter discussion without having to break up the fray, in a sense, and would facilitate and more ordered, formal style. I don’t think discussion should be based on a debate and who is willing to argue and berate others more, but that when discussion is given over to a nation there is poise and value in their remarks.

  5. Tori Wong says:

    I agree with everyone so far in saying that I’m pretty nervous about the organization of Thursday’s discussion after today’s opening. We only had about 25 minutes of discussion today after our background statements (which I thought went very well, and were pretty informative…so great job everyone!), but the conversation wasn’t incredibly productive aside from determining that the developing countries of the world need to come up with a tangible request to submit to the developed countries (working on it!).

    I also agree with Amanda in reiterating a problem that I brought up last Thursday; all the countries in a given “bloc” are NOT the same-they are not going through the same environmental or economic problems and therefore cannot be regulated solely as “developing” or “developed” nations. We all have different issues and different solutions to contribute, so it would have been good to hear from some of the other countries within the blocs…I feel like the only “countries” that spoke up were the ones that had presented background information. It seems like all negotiations are better when there is more input and more voices.

    Overall, I’m excited for Thursday. Can’t wait to hear the media’s take on today, and to see how this all ends.


  6. McKenna Lehman says:

    A lot of us didn’t really know what to expect for the first day, which is why some of us never touched on how much “money” we wanted. However, we now know exactly what to expect in terms of what we need to offer, information-wise. We all know we need to specify how much money we might need, why we need it, and how we are going to use it. As well, in order to make this more of a debate, as Will mentioned, I definitely think we need to reorganize the structure of the discussion. I like Brian’s idea of a country introducing a point of discussion and then debating over that point. The discussion today is just like most of our other discussions usually are, with the same people talking and not letting the quieter ones get a say in the discussion. Therefore, the discussion most definitely needs to be restructured. I also agree with Tori, that the countries of each block have different reasons for their emissions. I know that UN conferences usually don’t involve small groups, but maybe during the last half of class, depending on where the conversations at, the developing countries that have the same type of emissions problems could all split into small groups, along with a developed country representative. That way, we could discuss, as a collective group, how we each plan on solving “our type” of emission problem. We, as a small group, could then work with the developed representative on a smaller type of compromise. We could then come together as a large group and discuss/debate each of our options with each other. If the point of this assignment is for the Developing and Developed nations to work together, I think we should do just that, and I think doing it in smaller groups might be a crazy idea that could help create a good outcome.

  7. ehall says:

    I agree with Mckenna. There were no exact guidelines as to how this was supposed to play out, and I feel that everyone did a great job today. I really like the idea of breaking into groups to come up with a smaller compromise and then possibly coming back together as a whole and working through the smaller compromises to a general one. I also think this might be a good way to get everyone involved instead of just a portion. I think that by Thursday, those who presented today should have had ample time to look back at the presentation of their countries and the questions/concerns that followed and should be able to come up with some answers.

  8. kscrimsh says:

    Everyone has really put up very good points. There really was not much of a framework to the discussion, which would be a really good thing to have hopefully by Thursday. I think I would have also preferred having everyone go today so that I knew everyones stance on this issue. And I know that not everyone spoke today (guilty) but it was not a bad discussion for jumping in not quite knowing what was about to happen. Probably the biggest help to spur Thursday discussion would be to get all the info together, clearly lay it out, and have each country know with certainty what they want to do to stop or inhibit climate change. That would probably spark a little bit more of a discussion instead of just saying that monetary funding is needed. But honestly, it was something new and everybody did great. Now we know what to expect:)

  9. Jaclyn says:

    I agree with everyone so far especially Brian on the idea that we need a general aspect of climate change to focus on when discussing, or even possibly an agenda of what we are going to talk about for the upcoming days of role-play so then, not only would everyone have the opportunity to be more prepared, more people would hopefully participate.

    I agree that it was only a few people participating yesterday and that it definitely weakened the overall discussion, but at the same time it was hard to know what to really expect the first day. The first day definitely wasn’t perfect, but it was a good start and now I think we should learn from here and try to improve it. I really believe having a conference agenda would really lay out the criteria of what the discussion might be each day, just broad topics concerning climate change, broad enough to create new topics during the discussion, but giving us a way to kick off discussion and be prepared.

  10. Jaclyn says:

    Why is my time of posting so off? (Posted at 10:16 am).

  11. Kelsey Voss says:

    I think it would be beneficial to know background information from every country and where they stand before we discuss further. I think forcing everyone to give their opening statements and forcing them to speak will “break the ice” and make them feel more at ease to talk more in the discussion.
    Also, I don’t mean to be pessimistic, but I don’t think we are capable of calculating real-life estimates of money… accurately. Personally, I have almost no experience in economics or statistics, so when I have to calculate the amount of money my country needs, it is really challenging and its difficult to find that information. It would help to have some general information that would apply to everyone, to help us come up with real numbers. For example, we should be given how much money it costs to implement a certain amount of solar panels, etc. In addition to cost, we need to know the effectiveness and predicted outcome of that same number of solar panels. These are things that most people probably didn’t think to research on their own, since we were more focused on what our countries’ views are overall. It is difficult to know for sure how much money each developing country will need, and that aspect of the discussion makes this entire project a bigger pain because we are not all well-versed in it. It would help us a lot if we were given some estimates of cost and effectiveness, and then an overall budget. From that budget, we could divy up portions based on what would be best for everyone as a whole.
    The developed countries wanted to know how much money they would have to contribute to developing countries, when all along there is a fund out there which has already been established in which they agreed to 30 billion dollars. (Copenhagen) It is difficult to have a successful discussion if some countries haven’t done recent research. A lot has changed in the past 1-2 years, and they need to be well aware of what is current if they are going to represent their countries properly. I feel that everyone needs to look over the Copenhagen Accord because it was a recent international conference on climate change! Why wouldn’t we be talking about it!?!? It would have been helpful to have a briefing of the Accord in the documents we were given to prepare, to use as a starting point.
    I like Brian’s point about framing the discussion more like a Model UN conference, because it organizes topics of debate and allows us to focus on one problem at a time, without going on wild tangents. I feel that having such a structure would benefit us greatly.

  12. James Cruz says:

    I thought the first day of discussion went very well, even though the developed nations pushed for exact figures I thought we laid out the basic proposal. However, as others have noted there needs to be more participation by other countries. Furthermore, I would like for us to have an actual debate about something.

    For example a particular question such as: Why do the developed nations think they have a right to tell the developed nations how to be eco friendly and question us when they are the main cause of the problem?

    So basically more structure to the conversation.

  13. Emily Sherman says:

    The only thing that I can think of that would make it go more smoothly would be to have all of the countries present before we discuss (at least a little bit about their goals) so that during the main discussion we could have all know what each country needs…but I know that with the time constraint it would be hard to do. I’m a little apprehensive about tomorrow’s discussion though without know all of the opinions of the separate countries.

  14. Valerie says:

    I agree with alot of what has already been said. It felt like most of the conversation was centered around the developed countries making demands on the lesser developed countries. Towards the end it became solely about the lesser developed countries needing to give the larger countries estimates for how much money they wanted. I didn’t see that anyone was really prepared to do this, nor did it make for productive or interesting conversation. Also, I don’t see that the way the demands were being made was realistic. I don’t think in the real world developed countries would be handing out large grants to smaller countries. I feel like what would happen would be more along the lines of treaties being signed, and trade agreements being altered so that environmentally unproductive exports like coal and oil are not as profitable. Also I think we were ignoring the fact that you can’t just give money towards green technology and not think about how to develop the education and infrastructure in the lesser developed countries to be able to handle it. Also, it is possible to use universities and other bases of operation that more developed countries already have in lesser developed countries as a starting point for much of this work. Just handing out large sums of money to foreign governments seems like an unlikely and unproductive soultion and I think we need to stop perusing it.

  15. Tomoya says:

    I felt a majority of the conference was focused on the developed countries giving money to the developing countries, asking exact amounts which was not supposed to be established the first day. What should have been included is what each country can do together to bring their emission levels down. With the developed nations being the major emitters it would have been beneficial to hear more about what they plan on doing about their levels rather than why they should give money to developing nations.

  16. jzaimes says:

    I agree that there was too much focus on money and greed in a way in the conversation on Tuesday. We need to talk more about the solutions that are more practical in a particular area or country rather than just general solutions. Also, for our purposes, we may accomplish more than Tuesday if we focus less on political issues between countries and try to work on solutions unless the conflict is crucial to your country’s identity. And yes, group participation is very important. I just think most of us were more focused on our country’s information the first day that we weren’t quite prepared to ask questions regarding other’s countries.

  17. Brandy Simpson says:

    I agree with a lot of the above comments and I do believe that the discussion could probably use more structure. Also, I think that the conference could benefit from the inclusion of real world politics. For example, would the current political climate between the U.S. and China or the U.S. and Iran have any impact on the amount of money the U.S. would be willing to lend to either country? Also, does the strong alliance between India and Brazil have any impact on their group or the individual actions they will each take by the end of the conference? I think that these types of questions could help further the discussion on Thursday.

  18. Kelly Horvath says:

    Professor Rao, I apologize for this extremely late response, for some reason my mind blanked and I forgot to respond before noon (obviously). I hope my opinion can still help!

    One thing that I think would help is to hear from all the countries. Of course, it doesn’t have to be in as much detail as the others because that would have taken up the entire class period on the first day which would not allow for any discussion. On the other hand, it was a little difficult because not all the ideas were presented, only those from a few countries. As a result, I think that the discussion was focused among the countries who presented, rather than everybody. As suggested, I think it would help to have all the countries give a brief statement about its goals/expectations because it would encourage everyone to participate.

    Secondly, I think it would create more discussion if the countries had guidelines, or a rubric, to follow. This may seem like it defeats the purpose because our job is to discuss the issue and solve a problem. But, for instance, a list of bullet points that encourages the class to stay on track in order to conclude on a proposal to reduce emissions and prevent global climate change. For example, the issue of money and its distribution, or when these changes will begin, how these countries will follow through, etc.

    Overall, I think the discussion went well and it is interesting to hear about the different perspectives from various countries. But, like other classmates, I am worried about discussing this topic for another three classes because we do not know what else to discuss. Regardless, I am looking forward to tomorrow!

    -Kelly Horvath