A group of students sat at a table at the BISA climate change event

Third annual climate negotiation simulation takes place at Goodenough College

This article was published on

On Friday 1 December 2023, the third annual BISA climate negotiation simulation took place at Goodenough College in London. The aim was to engage students in a topical and important issue, and to raise their awareness of the international politics of climate change.

The climate negotiation is modelled on a simulation designed by Mark Webber (University of Birmingham), and reproduces the negotiations held under the auspices of the United Nations. Students represented one of the ‘parties’ (i.e. states) that have signed up to current international agreements on climate change (such as the Paris Agreement of 2015 and the Glasgow Climate Pact of 2021). Using these agreements as a starting point, the simulation was geared toward achieving reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, generating a fund to finance climate transition, and agreeing on a statement of principles. This year students from 21 UK universities took part – an increase of six from the previous academic year.

The day commenced with a keynote speech by Sam Alvis. Sam is Director of Energy and Environment at Public First - a public policy research firm - and the author of the climate and energy newsletter Election Energy. He is also an Associate Fellow in Green Industrial Policy at the progressive think-tank IPPR.

Then began the negotiations. The discussion was lively, with the delegates of Nigeria and ASIS threatening to leave negotiations due to the inadequacy of funding arrangements in task two! Deputy Chair of the simulation, Dominic Hart (BISA Communications Intern) said:

"We were delighted with the quality of discussion which carefully considered the mechanisms of international governance and various geopolitical challenges. The delegates displayed critical thinking and creativity to overcome the challenges posed by climate finance and CO2 reductions."

De Montfort student, Matilde De Freitas Da Silva Santos Reis, said:

“The climate change simulation was a tremendous, and insightful experience. I’ve gained enormous knowledge about climate change, and how negotiations are carried out in the world of politics and international relations. Additionally, while representing a developing nation I felt the struggle that those countries may feel when trying to negotiate with other - more developed - nations.”

At the end of the day, awards were presented for Distinguished and Outstanding delegations, alongside an award for embodying the role. The awards went to:

  • Distinguished award: Nigeria (Leeds Beckett)
  • Outstanding award: Algeria (Sheffield)
  • Embodying the role award: Russia (Sheffield)

There were also commendations for Sri Lanka (Gloucester), China (Bournemouth), Japan (East London) and Albania (City).

All participants will receive a certificate to commemorate their involvement.

To find out more about what was involved and how the students prepared, watch the video below. You can also read a fuller summary of the negotiations that took place as a download.