Environmental Science and International Politics: Acid Rain in Europe, 1979-1989, and Climate Change in Copenhagen 2009

Environmental Science and International Politics: Acid Rain in Europe, 1979-1989, and Climate Change in Copenhagen 2009

Environmental Science and International Politics: Acid Rain in Europe, 1979-1989, and Climate Change in Copenhagen 2009

Environmental Science and International Politics: Acid Rain in Europe, 1979-1989, and Climate Change in Copenhagen 2009

Synopsis

Environmental Science and International Politics features two reacting games in one volume, immersing students in the complex process of negotiating international treaties to control environmental pollution. The issues are similar in all the modules; environmental justice, national sovereignty, and the inherent uncertainty of the costs and benefits of pollution control. Students also must understand the basic science of each problem and possible solutions.
Acid Rain in Europe, 19779-1989 covers the negotiation of the Long Range Transport Pollution treaty. This was the first ever international pollution control treaty and remains at the forefront of addressing European pollution. This game can be used in a variety of ways and to examine either sulfur dioxide pollution, nitrogen oxide pollution, or both. This game includes summaries of a number of relevant technical articles to support student arguments. Students must deal with the limitations of national resources as they decide how much of their limited money to spend.
Climate Change in Copenhagen, 2009 covers the negotiations at the Conference of Parties 15 meeting that was attended by a large number of national leaders. The game also includes representatives of non-government organizations and the press. Students wrestle with the need to work within conflicting limits set by their governments.

Excerpt

This is a reacting game. Reacting games use complex role-play to teach about important moments in history. This game is set in a series of conferences sponsored by the United Nations (UN) that began in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1979 and continued for over a decade. The goal is to negotiate a treaty governing air pollutants transported across international borders within Europe. The game includes negotiations that followed in Helsinki, Finland, in 1984 and in Sophia, Bulgaria, in 1987. The result of these negotiations was the Long Range Transport Air Pollution Treaty, which continues in Europe to the present day.

The events that unfold in this game occur against the backdrop of larger negotiations within Europe on forming a European Economic Community (the EEC). The full details of these changes will become apparent as the game proceeds. But the fact that nations are being asked to give up some control over their energy and transportation sectors to support the general welfare of the region marks a turning point in the national sovereignty of these nations. At the time the negotiations begin, the idea of the European Union (EU) is just that, an idea in progress. National borders are still patrolled with checkpoints, and each nation has its own currency. In fact, air pollution is about the only thing that moves freely between the nations and across the Iron Curtain. The issue of transnational pollution was possibly the first area where national sovereignty was sacrificed for the common European good.

VIGNETTE: AN EVENING IN GENEVA

It has been a long day. This morning you met with the prime minister to go over your final instructions for the conference in Geneva and to plan strategy. After a quick lunch you hopped on a two-hour flight to Geneva and eventually got into your hotel room. You had dinner in your room while you read through the briefing papers one more time. Now your last task for the day is the opening reception for the conference that begins . . .

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