Climate Change Negotiation

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Efforts to address climate change focus on mitigation and adaptation. The former aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to slow, and eventually halt, adverse effects on our atmosphere. Mitigation involves fundamental changes in the way we do things that will reduce our vulnerability and increase our resilience when sea levels rise, storms intensify, airborne diseases spread and other climate change impacts occur. Persistent skepticism that climate change is a serious problem, or at least a man-made one, compounds the challenge.

Many experts believe that at least some level of adaptation will be necessary, regardless of how successful mitigation efforts are, because of the lag in our climate systems. The burdens associated with climate change and the costs of addressing them will not be shared equally, meaning that there will inevitably be winners and losers

The role play exercises available through the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) introduce decision makers and other stakeholders to the challenges associated with collective efforts to address the uncertain and dynamic risks associated with climate change. Three multi-party role play simulations focus on local planning in a small city called Evantown. Two others are national in scope, one explores the impacts of climate change on decisions to build a large hydroelectric dam in a country in Africa and the other brings parties together to figure out how sea level rise and salt water intrusion in a large, fertile river delta might affect agricultural policy in a country in Asia.

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Case Studies & Articles

Gina Coplon-Newfield

This case study provides an intimate view into the fierce battle among major US nonprofit environmental groups, Members of Congress, and industry over energy policy in 2007. The resulting law slashed pollution by raising car efficiency regulations for the first time in three decades. For negotiators and advocates, this case provides important lessons about cultivating champions, neutralizing opponents, organizing the masses, and using the right message at the right time.

Role Simulations

Role Simulation
Todd Schenk under the supervision of David Fairman, David Plumb, Lawrence Susskind, Philip Angell, and Kelly Levin
Eight-party negotiation (with option for a ninth person facilitator) regarding climate change issues in a situation loosely based on the situation in Ghana.
Role Simulation
Seven-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among local government, community, business, and environmental representatives trying to reach agreement on a strategy for managing climate change risks in a small, beachfront community.
Role Simulation
Seven-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among local government, community, business, and environmental representatives trying to reach agreement on a strategy for managing climate change risks in a medium-sized coastal community
Role Simulation
Danya Rumore, Anjali Lohani, and Mubarik Imam
Seven-party, seven-person, multi-issue negotiation game involving a dispute over inter-provincial water allocations. It explores issues of prediction and monitoring, water sharing, and the environmental adequacy of water flows.
Role Simulation
Sarah Hammitt and Jessica Artiles under the direction of Professor Lawrence Susskind
An eight-party, environmentally-focused role-play simulation, Flooding deals with an investment firm that is in the final stages of a multi-year planning process for a large, riverside mixed-use development. FEMA recently updated Evantown’s Flood Insurance Rate Map and the development falls within the 100-year floodplain. In addition, a study by the local university concludes that altered precipitation patterns brought on by climate change will put more and more properties at risk of flooding in the future. Should the firm be allowed to go through with the development? How and to what extent should Evantown take measures to protect itself against flood risks? Who is responsible for paying for whatever adaptation measures are used to protect vulnerable areas?
Role Simulation
Climate Change Negotiation Role-Play:

Flooding and Climate Change Risks in Northam

Seven-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among local government, community, business, environmental, and engineering representatives trying to reach agreement on a strategy for managing climate change risks in a small coastal city
Role Simulation
Seven-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among local government, community, business, and environmental representatives trying to reach agreement on a strategy for managing climate change risks in a mid-size coastal city.
Role Simulation
Global Treaty-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Global Management of Organochlorines

Lawrence Susskind, Sarah McKearnan, Mike Gordon, Adil Najam, Joshua Secunda, Granville Sewell, Parag Shah and Andrea Strimling
Thirteen-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among eight country representatives, four NGO representatives, and a working group chairperson must draft a treaty aimed at reducing harmful organochlorines; also known as "Chlorine Game"
Role Simulation
Tyler Corson-Rickert and Mónica Oliver under the direction of Professor Lawrence Susskind
This is a seven-party, integrative negotiation between stakeholders in a city over how to implement housing retrofits to enhance resilience to extreme heat in the aftermath of deadly heat waves attributed to climate change.
Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Hitana Bay Development Simulation

International Programme for the Management of Sustainability, with Lawrence Susskind
Ten-party, multi-issue negotiation among government, development, industry, labor, and preservation interests over port improvements, real-estate development, and environmental protection in a Caribbean island harbor expansion
Role Simulation
Hannah Payne and Genea Foster under the direction of Lawrence Susskind
A seven-party role-play simulation involving a diverse set of stakeholders who must consider the short-term and long-term public health impacts of climate change while assessing the pros and cons of specific (and conflicting) risk management strategies
Role Simulation
Jennie Hatch under the supervision of Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, multi-issue negotiation focused on issues of public engagement in hydropower-based energy development
Role Simulation
Science-Intensive Policy Disputes Negotiation Role-Play:

IndopotamiaNegotiating Boundary-Crossing Water Conflicts

Catherine M. Ashcraft under the supervision of Professors Lawrence Susskind and Shafiqul Islam
Videos and Audio, Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

National Energy Policy Simulation

Eric Jay Dolin, Daniel Greenberg and Lawrence Susskind
Highly complex multi-party, multi-issue negotiation among political, industry, environmental, and consumer leaders and lobbyists to develop a detailed proposal to reduce U.S. vulnerability to changes in energy prices and supply
Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Offshore Wind Farm Negotiation

MIT Students in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, under the supervision of Prof. Lawrence Susskind and Dr. Herman Karl
8-party nonscorable negotiation among commercial, environmental, and governmental stakeholders over a controversial proposal to develop offshore wind farms
Role Simulation
Elizabeth Fierman under the supervision of David Fairman, David Plumb, Lawrence Susskind, Philip Angell, and Kelly Levin
Eight-party negotiation (with option for a ninth person facilitator) regarding climate change issues in a situation loosely based on the situation in Viet Nam.
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

Prof. Susskind's Top 5 Environmental Negotiation Teaching Materials

Role Simulation
Evan Thomas Paul and Jessica Agatstein under the direction of Professor Lawrence Susskind
This is a six-party, multi-issue negotiation game involving environmental, economic, social, and political interests in a city where the water infrastructure is inefficient and not up to the task of coping with extreme water events.


Parties: 6. Time Req'd: 1-2 hrs. Teaching Notes: Yes.
Role Simulation
Steven Maser
Five- or six-person, multi-issue, facilitated negotiation among federal agency, state government, environmental, and industry representatives over the regulation of woodstove emissions; optional sixth role for industry association counsel

Video and Audio

Videos and Audio, Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

National Energy Policy Simulation

Eric Jay Dolin, Daniel Greenberg and Lawrence Susskind
Highly complex multi-party, multi-issue negotiation among political, industry, environmental, and consumer leaders and lobbyists to develop a detailed proposal to reduce U.S. vulnerability to changes in energy prices and supply

Books

original
Book
An annual compilation of research papers addressing a range of transboundary environmental negotiation issues
original
Book

Shafiqul Islam and Lawrence E. Susskind

In this book, the authors show how open and constantly changing water networks can be managed successfully using collaborative adaptive techniques to build informed agreements among disciplinary experts, water users with conflicting interests, and governmental bodies with countervailing claims.

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