Guest blog post by Dr. Jemima Yakah Amoah
On Monday 16th of April, 2018, the Climate Change and Adaptation in Agricultural Development class held the first World Climate Simulation at the University of Ghana, Legon. About 80 students participated in the role-playing simulation exercise at the Agricultural Extension department. The participants played the role of negotiators representing countries and six regional blocs (United States, EU, Other Developed Countries, China, India, Other Developing Countries) and three interest groups (the Press/Media/Journalists, Climate Activists, and Fossil Fuel Lobby) to create an agreement that limits climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the model UNFCCC Conference of Parties international climate change negotiations.
The objectives of the exercise were to expose students to:
- the practical application of knowledge obtained in the class in a climate policy simulation model to reduce global warming from a 4.5°C scenario in 2100 to below 2°C.
- the sources of greenhouse gas emissions, mitigation options and implications for agricultural development.
- formulating strategies and proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions per regional bloc.
- available peer-reviewed, science-based evidence to model the implications of their proposals for atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, global mean surface temperature, sea level rise, and other climate change impacts at the global scale.
- climate action to reduce emissions across all scales.
The Simulation was facilitated by Dr. Mrs. Jemima Yakah Amoah of the Agricultural Extension Department, who played the role of UNFCCC Secretary General. Participants who role-played as delegates were given briefing statements to prepare ahead of time, and representatives were selected by the students to give plenary statements on behalf of the regional blocs and interest groups. The C-ROADS software developed by Climate Interactive was used to analyze the data and model the outcomes of the delegates’ proposals.
At the end of the simulation, the C-ROADS software showed that the proposals, pledges and negotiations resulted in a reduction of global warming from a 4.5°C scenario to 1.7°C.
Conclusion and Recommendations
The simulation exercise provided participants an experiential learning opportunity to explore the risks of climate change impacts, climate change mitigation options and the challenges of negotiating international agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We recommend that the World Climate Simulation exercise be used as a learning tool to facilitate student understanding of climate change impacts, mitigation strategies and negotiation skills. It is also recommended that the simulation exercise be used to engender climate action among youth.
Sincere thanks to Travis Franck of Climate Interactive and to Joshua Amponsem and Desmond Alugnoa of Green Africa Youth Organization / Ghana Youth Climate Coalition who assisted the facilitation team.