Emory COP326

Emory COP326

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Category : Blog , Climate Change Blog

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.

Second Round of UN Climate Simulation Results

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.

Negotiations between several blocs

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.

Reporter Press Release

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.

Climate Change and the Media

Today, I will be participating in a World Climate Mock UN Negotiation as a member of the Press Corps. My task is to communicate the results of the negotiations to the public. While I may not hold any negotiating power, my power to influence as a journalist can be almost greater. I chose to represent the Guardian for this simulation because it is a new, highly active organization that is a leader in environmental coverage.

Media coverage of climate change in the United States is alarmingly low, as newspapers and other media sources respond to political pressures, wavering public interest, and other stressors by cutting science sections devoted to climate related issues. This is not true of the Guardian, a cross-continental news organization that has expanded its coverage of climate change and other environmental issues. In March of 2017, the Guardian announced new positions added to their award-winning environmental reporting team. They confirmed their dedication to communicating these issues stating, “There is mounting evidence that the extreme weather events of recent years are linked to man-made climate change which is already underway. This, coupled with the fact that 2016 was the hottest year on record, are just two examples of why there is a greater need than ever before for the kind of serious and innovative environmental journalism that the Guardian is renowned for.”

The Guardian was originally founded in 1821, with an environmental section first appearing around the year 2000. Hot topics at the time mostly revolved around genetically modified foods, with few news stories related to climate change. Now, many news stories written by the Guardian Environment, focus around some aspect of climate change.

Scientific consensus is a large focus of theGuardian’scoverage of climate change, especially in the United States. A subsection of their climate change area called Climate Consensus – the 97% is dedicated to this topic alone. In editorials, the Guardian discusses how they feel “almost certain” that manmade climate change is happening and expresses high belief in the scientific consensus, citing recent scientific discoveries such as the link between climate change and droughts in Kenya, and the three 500-year floods that Houston has experienced in a short three-year time span. News articles on the topic often take a more critical focus, examining how climate denial and skeptics interact with the scientific consensus especially among groups within the United States. The Guardian conducted a study into the issue, breaking apart the climate deniers’ position that scientific consensus is a myth.

Public opinion of climate change is commonly discussed in a number of news outlets. The Guardian analyzes the factors contributing to U.S. public opinion, and those factors that may be holding people back. One editorial piece describes how fossil fuel companies have led a campaign to mislead voters, resulting in decreased public opinion of climate change. Recent news stories focus on current climate policies supported by Americans that, unfortunately, have little chance of getting passed regardless of public opinion and support.

Societal change is a necessary component of climate action. Editorials in the Guardian present how climate litigation, enforcing policies, and holding large fossil fuel companies accountable for action, may be viable paths toward climate action. They acknowledge that the Paris Agreement is good, but that “Big Carbon” has influenced many politics. News stories take a more positive light focusing on recent innovations and initiatives that are taking steps toward overall societal change.

Infographic by Katelyn Boisvert using Piktochart Graphics

The Guardian utilizes many strategies to connect with and engage readers about climate change. Many news articles are solutions focused, presenting ways for readers to get involved with the discussion or take action. They connect with sites across the globe and partner with many groups, such as their recent partnering with the Skoll Foundation to create a serious on current climate impacts and solutions. The Guardian Environment is an award-winning reporting team focused on delivering authentic journalism that communicates the news and discusses issues related to climate change and other environmental topics in a way that informs the reader and supports societal change.