Parties to the Emory World Climate Summit reached a landmark agreement on October 25 in Atlanta, making great strides to address the global climate effort. After three hours and two sessions of negotiations, the six blocs settled on an agreement that will limit global warming to 2ºC above pre-industrial global temperatures.
In the first round of negotiations, blocs stuck close to plans they had set coming into the COP talks. Little collaboration occurred between the countries, but they were still able to set a goal of 2.3ºC. Unfortunately, most countries did not contribute to the Green Climate Fund, which is worrisome to India and the bloc representing other developing countries.
The second round of negotiations showed blocs collaborating and forming alliances with each other, even if they deviated slightly from their original plans. An emphasis was placed on expanding the Green Climate Fund, although it unfortunately was still not enough, as the fund fell short by 42 billion dollars. The blocs established the goal of 2ºC, but without money from the Green Climate Fund it is unclear how the other developing countries bloc’s goals will be impacted.
The interplay between groups added a fascinating element to the negotiation process. Particularly interesting was differing goals between the U.S. federal government and U.S. cities and states. Cities and states contributed double to the Green Climate Fund and set more aggressive emissions reduction goals, while the federal group was all too happy to let them take on the bulk of the work for climate action.
Much of the interaction revolved around China’s role in the negotiations. China described itself as a developing country that should receive assistance similar to countries like India, while most of the delegates argued that China is well on its way to being developed and is close to passing U.S. GDP. The U.S. attempted to strike goals with China to encourage them to contribute to the Green Climate Fund. China stayed to their original plan of no contribution, preferring to trade technology with other developing countries without any questions of how money would be used.
The non-country roles add to the negotiation process. Fossil fuels lobbyists, often responsible for large portions of funding for the climate talks, attempted to work with the other developing countries bloc, offering increased support if they align with the fossil fuel industry. Climate activists worked closely with the EU and other developed countries to set sanctions on the U.S., which unfortunately were introduced in the last negotiation round and unable to be explored fully.
Overall, this simulation offered unique insight into the climate negotiation process. A large part of the outcome hinged on the decisions of key players including the U.S., EU, and China, which reflects real-life negotiations as well. The other developing countries bloc did have a voice in the negotiations, but often only in so much that it helped another country look good and suit their needs. This simulation demonstrated the delicate balance that must be achieved between countries to make limiting global warming to a 2ºC increase a possibility.