How do UN climate negotiations actually work? In mid-May, it was precisely this question that united master’s students from the University of Cologne and other business schools in the CEMS network. After months of preparation, they met in Cologne from May 12 to 14 to simulate a climate convention.
More than 100 international students from leading universities across Europe had traveled to the Cologne Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) for a weekend to simulate a UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)-style climate negotiation. Students from the Master’s degree program in International Management (CEMS MIM) of the international alliance CEMS participated in the role-play. EWI Director Prof. Dr. Marc Oliver Bettzüge hosted the conference.
In delegations of two to four students each, they negotiated from the perspective of a state or NGO how climate change can be mitigated, how mitigation can be financed, and how countries or regions can and must adapt to its consequences. More than 40 countries and so-called observer organizations were represented in this role play – from industrialized nations to small island states.
The aim was not only to get a feel for how difficult international negotiations can be, but also to learn for themselves how to conduct them and advocate for their interests. In a very practical way, the future leaders thus develop a deeper understanding of the processes by which politics and business meet the challenges of climate change.
After two days of negotiations in working groups and informal coffee breaks, delegates came together to vote on their negotiated agreement. The jointly developed Cologne Climate Commitment, if implemented, would limit global warming to below two degrees.
The action is officially supported by the UNFCCC Secretariat. Further support was provided by the sponsors Eon Inhouse Consulting, Vaillant, IHK Köln, TÜV Rheinland and Westenergie.
This text is based on the report by Petra Freudenberger.