Developed World Strikes a Climate Deal with Developing World (in a sim at least)

img_01481For the first time in our ~20 runnings of the simulation-based “Mock-UN” role-playing exercise, The Copenhagen Climate Exercise (now World Climate), the delegates from the developed world moved first in striking a global deal on climate.

(For more on the sim behind the exercise and why the heck we ask people in nice clothes to sit on the floor, click here).

The players were corporate and government partners of The Climate Group — a coalition of governments and the world’s most influential businesses all committed to tackling climate change. Bob Corell of the Heinz Center was playing Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki Moon, and I (Drew Jones) from Sustainability Institute, was playing session chair Michael Zammit Cutajar.

Normally, the delegates from US, EU, Japan, Russia (that’s them in the chairs) and others wait at their comfortable table with the snacks, flowers, and power. And the delegates from the developing world (that’s some of them — Africa, island nations et al. — on the floor) crowd around the rich countries, asking for help.

But on Monday in Washington it was different.

Much like the real world, the developed world delegates committed to a reduction in emissions after a delay and, much unlike the real world (so far) then sent an empowered diplomat to the other side of the meeting room to ask what it would really take for emissions to fall in China, India, Indonesia et al. How to finance it etc.

Okay, okay, it was just practice. But I feel encouraged by people experimenting with what is going to take to reach a global climate deal that works: doing all we can in the developed world AND creating the conditions for the developing world to reduce emissions too. Together.