Students to Simulate Climate Negotiations

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A Yale-led team of 60 students from several East Coast universities will simulate international negotiations on climate change on November 2 and 3 at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
The third annual Inter-University Climate Negotiation Simulation will begin on Friday, Nov. 2, at 5 p.m. in Kroon Hall. Students from Yale, Columbia, Duke, Georgetown and MIT will negotiate the legal obligations of the countries they are assigned to represent under an international climate agreement.
On November 3, Janine Felson, ambassador of Belize, will observe the simulation and deliver remarks at the end of the event.
“The negotiations will be based on actual working texts from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,” said Alark Saxena, a co-organizer of the simulation and Yale doctoral student. “The simulation will mirror the politics and policy of the real process.”
The simulation is part of the course “International Organizations and Conferences,” taught by Gordon Geballe, lecturer in urban ecology and associate dean for external and alumni affairs. Yale will send students to Doha to support countries and nongovernmental organizations in official delegations, research and write briefs for negotiating teams, lobby, blog and immerse themselves in bureaucratic give-and-take.
“Through this simulation and attendance at actual international negotiations, students develop a greater understanding of what will be needed to move the global community toward sustainability,” said Geballe.
The Doha Climate Change Conference, under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, will take place from November 26 to December 7 at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha, Qatar.
Governments at Doha will decide for how long to extend the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement that set binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The protocol expires this year. In 2010, governments agreed that global temperature increases should be limited to below 2 degrees Celsius.
Just as in actual climate negotiations, the simulation at Yale will involve three negotiating tracks: the Kyoto Protocol, Long-term Cooperative Action and the newly established Durban Platform. In addition, the simulation will include several plenary meetings where a country, or Party, and delegates will be able to voice their positions.
“The Doha negotiations are vital because they will determine the ecological and economic fate of our world under the specter of global warming,” said Jeffrey Chow, the other co-organizer and Yale doctoral student. “A central theme of our simulation will try to determine the rights and duties of developed and developing countries in our collective effort to mitigate and adapt to global climate change.”
This simulation and student attendance in Doha is supported by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies through Dean Peter Crane, the Student Affairs Committee and the Leitner Family Fund.
For more information, contact Jeffrey Chow ( or Alark Saxena (
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PUBLISHED: November 1, 2012

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