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Liberty Middle School Holds Simulated Climate Summit

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Following the international COP24 (Conference of Parties) Climate Summit in Katowice, Poland, from Dec. 3 - Dec. 14, students at Liberty Middle School held a simulated summit of their own on Dec. 17.


The summit, which grew out of the Paris Climate Agreement, is organized by the United Nations. The results of this year's COP24 summit, featuring nations from around the world, primarily addressed the definition of language from the "rulebook" to establish practices for the accord. It includes how governments will measure, report on, and verify all their emission-cutting effots.


The deadline to prove that countries have met their target goals is 2020. Unless emissions are reduced globally, temperatures are expected to rise three degrees celsius. The summit's goal is to reduce that to two degrees or below and to have each nation contribute 100 billion dollars to the Global Fund for Mitigation and Adaptation.


Liberty Middle School students used a rubric created by Climate Interactive to hold their own climate summit. Eighth grade science teacher Vince DeJesus organized the event with students and staff. Students represented participants from the United States, China, India, Europe, other developed nations, and other developing nations. Staff even played lobbyists for the oil industry who attempted to bribe students.


"In round one, students decreased the "business as usual" temperature increase from 4.2 degrees to 2.3 degrees and were able to agree to contribute 30.3 billion dollars to the fund," began DeJesus.


"After the second round of negotiations they reached 2.1 degrees of warming (so close) and pledged a total of 89.6 billion dollars to the fund. It's actually difficult to reach the goals of the game if all of the players are taking their roles seriously and genuinely trying to negotiate with the other groups," he continued.

"I thought the summit turned out better than I had hoped," DeJesus noted.
"It was fascinating to listen to the students negotiate with each other. They debated with a passion that made it seem as if they actually believed it was real. In fact,  I would say that this year was the most realistic conference that we have held to date," he concluded.
See photos from the Liberty Middle School Summit here.
LMS Summit

 Students debate global warming at the LMS Climate Summit on Dec. 17.

Cynthia Cumming
Dec. 20, 2018