Wittenborg Students and Staff Celebrate End of Successful Week of Climate Talks
Students and staff at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences rounded off three days of climate talks and negotiations on Friday - a simulation of COP26 in Glasgow - as part of a Project Week assignment for undergraduates in Apeldoorn, Amsterdam and Munich. Wittenborg’s President, Peter Birdsall, initiated the idea and was a hands-on presence the entire week.
To celebrate the end of a successful week, students and staff got together for an evening of drinks and talking afterwards. COP26 is seen by many as the last chance to save the world from climate change. As British prime minister Boris Johnson put it last week, the world is at "one minute before midnight" in terms of keeping warming below 1.5C, with the UN predicting a 2.7C rise on the current trajectory, which could lead to catastrophic consequences.
Over the course of the week, students were divided into 7 economic regions, sometimes also key countries, defined as "developed" or "developing", with many of the 100 nationalities at Wittenborg represented. Within their groups, they negotiated their positions on actions to be taken on climate change, and at the same time tried to forge alignments with other countries and regions.
The goal was to "reach" a global agreement that successfully keeps climate change well below 2˚C over preindustrial levels globally - which the students did with flying colours. Birdsall said: "Quite fantastic. You guys can all run the country if you had your say. Maybe then we would not have sanctions and war." He added that students also gained a little more understanding about other countries and cultures while negotiating in a respectful way.
After the Project Week, students had to fill in a survey as a means of evaluation and self-assessment. The results will be shared next week.
by Anesca Smith