A group of 185 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows from across the world got a crash course in climate change policy from Climate Interactive Co-Director Drew Jones at this year’s Global Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C.
The World Energy and World Climate simulations helped these leaders, who represented 93 countries, gain insights into the complexity of international climate negotiations and what we need to do in order to address climate change.
Kristina Jenkins, the senior program officer at the Humphrey Fellowship Program, said the exercise helped establish a sense of solidarity among participants.
“The main takeaway was how the world needs to work together to find solutions,” she said. “On the political level, I think there’s a lot of finger-pointing going on in terms of this country needs to do this, that country needs to do that.”
The Fellows’ unique perspective allowed the exercise to resonate exceptionally well, Jenkins added. Most Humphrey fellows come from developing countries, many of which are especially vulnerable to climate change. This background, she said, gave the exercise a sense of importance that can be overlooked by U.S. audiences whose lifestyles may insulate them from many of the short-term effects of a changing climate.
“Our fellows are disproportionately affected by these issues. They’ve seen the effects of climate change carried out in their own countries and regions.”
Climate change is the focus of this year’s Humphrey Fellows Program, reflecting an increasing importance of these issues in the U.S. Department of State, which funds the program. Indeed, Secretary of State John Kerry has called it a “life-threatening issue,” and has relied on our C-ROADS simulator to help craft climate policy.