Students Tackle Climate Change

Posted by on Sep 24, 2019 in News | No Comments

As part of Climate and Environment Day on Friday 20th September, Sixth Formers from Saltash Community School spent the day debating global solutions to climate change as part of a Mock United Nations. The students represented fifteen different nations – ranging in size from The Maldives to China – with each team fighting the corner of their chosen nation whilst trying to negotiate a real solution to benefit the whole planet.

The students began with the motion ‘We agree that all countries in the World should cut CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050’. They heard a speech from Andy Pratt, Devon & Cornwall Regional Officer for Green MEP Molly Scott-Cato, who spoke in favour of the motion whilst recognising that even stronger action was needed to really solve the issue. They then heard from Adam Killeya, Head of Sixth Form, speaking from the point of view of an opponent to the motion.

Each country of students then each produced a presentation on the impact of the proposed 50% cut on their nation, whilst attempting to build alliances with other countries to agree on a proposal that could get majority support. The students negotiated with each other, using many real life political strategies of mutual interest, trade, incentive and threat, before a series of votes in the ‘UN General Assembly’.

In the end the country representatives voted 9-6 that all countries should increase renewable energy use by 25% establish a World Fund for Natural Disasters. However, an enforcement motion to fine countries who do not comply 5% of their GDP fell one vote short.

Head of Sixth Form Adam Killeya said “The students did a fantastic job of getting into character and showing real empathy for the plight of different countries. They also learnt a lot about the reality of politics and how it can be very difficult to get nations with different interests to agree meaningful action, even when the future of the planet is at stake”.

Guest speaker Andy Pratt said “I congratulate the staff and students of Saltash Community School for exploring the key issues of climate change with such enthusiasm.  The young people I met today are the generation who are going to have to deal with the dangerous consequences of our current oil-addicted global economy.

“I think today provided an example of how we could make progress when different countries and viewpoints aim to work together, and it sets a good example for our politicians and for all of us as citizens.  We are all responsible for the world.”