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Energy Use and Climate Change - Perspectives for Sustainable Growth

by Dr. Peter Hefele

KAS Model United Nations Conference in Xiamen, Fujian Province

From 28th to 30th of June 2013 the Konrad Adenauer Foundation / office Shanghai held a Model United Nations conference in Xiamen, Fujian Province. 30 international participants represented 15 countries and had the task to pass a joint resolution on sustainable global climate- and development policy under the framework of a simulation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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Model United Nations conferences (MUN) are held frequently worldwide, but in the People’s Republic of China this kind of simulation of global politics is becoming more and more popular among students. One advantage of MUN conferences is that the delegates can make themselves familiar with the rules and procedures of UN conferences. Besides improving their competences in debating and negotiating, the students can also gain broad knowledge on important global topics. Therefore this year the KAS Shanghai invited to the first KAS MUN conference 2013 in Xiamen. Most of the countries were represented by one international and one Chinese student.

In order to prepare for the conference, the delegations did some research on the topic „ Energy Use and Climate Change: Perspectives for Sustainable Growth“ in advance and handed in so-called Position Papers. These Position Papers include every country’s stand point and opinion on the topic as well as proposals for measures and solutions.

Back then it became already obvious that the positions of the various countries are very diverse, one of the reasons being the different energy resources of the countries. France, for example, is heavily depending on nuclear energy, while Canada produces most of its energy by water power; in China, energy produced out of coal accounts for more than 77 percent of its whole energy – here lies the basis for heated discussions on the conference.

In his welcoming remarks, Dr. Peter Hefele, director of KAS Shanghai, emphasized the importance of the topic “sustainability” in the global work of the Konrad-Adenauer-foundation. Because most of the participants had never participated in a Model-United-Nations (MUN) conference before, the Chair Soeren Gurock from London gave an introduction in the rules and procedures at the first evening.

At the second day, the delegates had the opportunity to discuss the topic energy use and climate change in the plenary. The delegates showed their passion and motivation and began to gather in small groups and write down proposals and viewpoints in so-called Working Papers during the lunch break already. Russia, Australia and Germany for example called for a new platform to facilitate the transfer and exchange of technologies and experiences with renewable energies. China, Brazil, India and other developing countries introduced a Working Paper requesting industrialized countries to further reduce their GHG emissions, because they bear the main responsibility from a historic point of view.

Heated discussions went on the whole day and the participants realized that it would be hard to find a consensus and pass a draft resolution in the end. Under the guidance of the competent Chair the countries systematically reviewed all Working Papers and improved them by adding several clauses. In the late evening, the participants gathered again in an in-official meeting in the conference room to find a consensus and voted on every clause, striking out those that could not gain the support of the majority of present countries. In the end they summarized all remaining clauses in a Draft Resolution. A small group of delegates from Australia, Germany and Russia kept on working until late at night and wrote their own Draft Resolution, which included concrete measures for action and considered the special needs of developing countries.

On Sunday morning, the two Draft Resolutions were introduced. Now the delegates could train their diplomatic skills as in order to pass a resolution a two-third majority is needed. After adding some Amendmends, the second Draft Resolution sponsored by Australia, Germany and Russia, which only had few countries support at the beginning, found more and more signatories because of its professional format and concrete proposals. Shortly before lunch break, the commission was split up into two groups.

In order to prevent the conference from failing, Chair Soeren Gurock proposed to vote on every clause instead of on the whole document. Hereby those clauses that cannot reach a two-third majority can be stroken out but passing a final Resolution can be ensured. Through this approach, the conference successfully passed a new climate and development pact consisting of the following five points:

  • key issues to consider: a working committee should be established dedicated to quantifying the “common but differentiated responsibilities”, specifically to create a committee of nonpartisan experts from the scientific community for the specific purpose of establishing metrics for a comprehensive, objective, and non-political manner and that, furthermore, member nations accept the authority of this committee.
  • key stake holders and roles: the resolutions calls for NGOs to engage actively in the combat against climate change and requests the set-up of a platform the instant set up of a data base of technology companies
  • energy use: the resolution accepts biofuel energy as an important alternative energy; and encourages innovation of city transportation system design and biofuel and hybrid car engines;
  • techonology use: the number of „Green Compact Conferences“ should be increased for the purpose of creating green businesses, cooperative responsibility, and dialogue among youth for a sustainable future;
  • funding and economic concerns: the resolution urges developed countries to raise climate financial aid annually by 2020 under the framework of United Nations’ Green Climate Fund (GCF).
During the Closing Ceremony Dr. Peter Hefele awarded outstanding delegates and delegations for their great performance. The best position paper was written by Japan, the best delegation was Russia and South Africa. Furthermore, delegates from India and France were awarded for their outstanding performances. Many delegates expressed their wish to again participate in a KAS MUN conference next year.

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Tim Wenniges

KAS Model United Nations 2013 Xiamen (c) KAS Shnanghai 2013


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