Model Climate Conferences

More Photos

We are pleased to offer secondary schools and young people’s groups a Model Climate Conference, modelled on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Conferences of the Parties (COP). The conferences enthuse and challenge students to think about the national and international implications of climate change.

At the United Nations (UN) climate talks in 2015, world leaders from 196 countries made the historic and universal 'legally binding' Paris Agreement to cut Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and so keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius.  They also agreed to attempt to limit the rise to 1.5°C through countries' emission reduction targets. Read more about the Paris Agreement in our Explore the Facts sheet.

Christiana Figueres, the UN diplomat who has lead the global Climate Change negotiations since 2010, said during a podcast interview that the Paris Agreement can be summarised as, 'the world's determination to de-couple global economic growth from the growth of greenhouse gases'.  She stresses that this de-coupling needs to occur over the next few years and is 'an urgent, urgent challenge.' 

This is a challenge for governments to act but the challenge also extends to each of us.  The UN recognises that children and young people around the world are increasingly feeling the impacts of climate change and Figueres believes that we have an individual responsibility to 'make every single effort' to bring down anything in our own lives that is high carbon. Nazhat Shameem Khan who was Climate Ambassador of the Fijian Presidency in 2017 highlighted that 'children are some of the loudest advocates for climate action. The creativity, the energy and the drive of children and young people can accelerate climate action now to enhance the ambition of the Paris Climate Change agreement.'

At each ICN Conference students are invited to represent a country in groups of 3 to 5. Throughout the formal negotiation process, and informal networking during the breaks, groups are supported to put forward their country’s points of view on climate change. In the second part of the afternoon, local sustainability leaders and active organisations share expertise in an ‘Ideas Zone’.  Students engage in mini-workshops and then generate their own ideas and plans of action - see the 2017 pledges below - to bring back to school tackling topics such as air quality, energy, food and food waste, resource-use, travel and transport, waste and recycling. A total of around 40-70 students ideally take part and we have found that holding the event in local Council Chambers provides a great atmosphere.

To date we have engaged with schools in Reading, Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, West Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Bristol and Solihull.