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Students host Model UN Climate Change Conference

This news article was published more than a year ago. Some of the information may no longer be accurate.

Published: 13/03/2014

Fifty-five pupils from Brimsham Green Secondary School, Mangotsfield Secondary School, King’s Oak Academy, John Cabot Academy and Patchway Community College participated in the conference, where key elements of a new international agreement were debated.

The conference was formally opened by Vice Chair of South Gloucestershire Council Cllr Howard Gawler, and featured a keynote speech from Lord Paul Tyler, non-executive Chairman of InterClimate Network. Its format was modelled on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Conference of the Parties (COP 20), which will take place in Lima, Peru between 1 and 12 December 2014.

The agenda was run as if it were a real UN conference, so everyone involved had to abide by the rules and address the Chair when speaking. The young people were supported to debate three major elements of the actual COP 20 negotiations. Representing 14 different countries and the European Union, they had three key areas to negotiate for a treaty: to produce a draft of a new international climate agreement ready for 2015, to outline their national plans, and to raise global ambitions for 2020.

After a vote, the draft treaty was passed by a 42:7 majority, deciding:

• Emissions targets should be voluntary, but benchmarked with financial incentives for meeting them

• All countries should contribute to a global fund using an agreed formula based on population density, CO2 and economic status information. Countries cannot access funding through a Green Climate Fund if they do not subsequently meet their national targets

• Industrialised countries should contribute at a higher rate and a larger proportion of funds should go towards supporting more vulnerable countries.

Cllr Gawler said: “I would like to thank all of the young people who took part for their input to these negotiations. Everyone made an important contribution towards tackling these complex issues, and taking major steps towards forming a new international agreement.

“I hope everyone has been encouraged to join other debates locally. It’s important that young people participate as active citizens and play a part in decision-making at all levels – Youth Parliament, voting, lobbying and taking action.”

In his speech, Lord Tyler emphasised how important it is for young people to know about the global decisions being made today at this most critical point in climate change discussions, as they will be around to feel the effects.

The Model UN Climate Conference is an initiative by InterClimate Network charity and was hosted and supported by South Gloucestershire Council. The conference was held at the Kingswood Civic Centre.

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