Young man presents his ideas to a table of fellow students
Persuading fellow students at COP27 climate negotiation simulation ©

British Council, 2022

During COP28, as the world’s attention focussed on climate change, young people from across the UK gathered together to think about and discuss the challenges that key leaders face on this global issue.

Working with local partner, the British Council organised a series of climate negotiation simulation events for students across the UK, coinciding with the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28), which took place in Dubai from 30 November to 12 December 2023.

These simulation events offered a face to face role-playing exercise based around the UN climate change negotiations using materials developed by Climate Interactive, part of the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative

Students (aged 16-18) took on the different roles of those people who are actively working in this field: world leaders, non-governmental bodies (NGOs) and the media. Working in groups which represented a country, a region or a lobby group, the students were tasked with taking part in a simulation of a real-life climate negotiation. While each group looked at the issue from a different angle, they came together to produce a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep the global temperature from rising above 1.5%. 

Through the simulation, participants explored the rate of change and level of action that nations must take to address global climate change. During the negotiations, the students’ proposals were fed into a computer programme, which used real-life data to model what the consequences of the proposals would be. This gave them the opportunity to better understand how climate negotiations, such as the UN Climate Change Conference COP28 operate. It also allowed them the opportunity to work with students from other schools to reach a consensus on the issue.

These event took place across November-December 2023 in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Manchester, Belfast and London.

Watch the video of the event below to hear how the students learned.

Fancy organising your own climate negotiation conference? This makes a great project to work on with a partner school in a different country.