CEMS Model UNFCCC climate conference simulation held at Corvinus with great success

The course titled "Model UNFCCC CEMS Climate Strategy Roleplay” ran in the framework of the CEMS Master program for the 16th time in the spring semester. The course concludes with a two-day climate conference simulation that was hosted this year by Corvinus, between 9-11 May. The conference was attended by 148 international students from 9 CEMS partner universities, who took on the roles of various countries and NGOs to simulate the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and agree on the next steps in the international fight against climate change.
CEMS Model UNFCCC at Corvinus

Model UNFCCC CEMS Climate Strategy Roleplay is a unique, innovative course that provides the possibility for students to experience, as active participants, a complex, multilateral negotiation with far-reaching consequences for the future of the planet. During the semester, students prepare for the negotiation simulation by learning about climate change, the UNFCCC and the interests and positions of various countries.

The conference was opened by Dr. Ágnes Zsóka, Vice-rector for Academic Development, head of the “Business and Environment” faculty group at CEMS and professor responsible for the course at Corvinus University of Budapest, and Dr. Richárd Szántó, Program Director of CEMS. The participants were then addressed by Dr. Barbara Botos, Hungarian Ambassador-at-Large for Climate, who emphasized the huge stakes of the negotiations: the World only has a few years left to start drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions if we are to limit climate change to 1,5ºC. Furthermore, this must be done while providing adequate financial assistance to developing countries to aid their transition to renewable energy sources and their preparation for the inevitable consequences of global warming.

During the two-day program, students negotiated the contents of the new climate treaty in plenary sessions, four working groups as well as informally during breaks, staying true to their role during the entire time. This sometimes meant having to argue against their own personal convictions to represent the interests of their country, for example as Saudi-Arabia or Australia to push for a delay in the phasing out of fossil fuels. As a result of intense negotiations and compromise-seeking stretching long into the night, by the end of the event, students were able to come to consensus on the text of the „Budapest Commitment”, which focused on the most important issues in relation climate change: the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions (mitigation), preparing for the effects of climate change (adaptation), climate finance, market mechanisms to facilitate emission reductions, and questions about the status of climate refugees and loss and damage resulting from global warming. A quick analysis by professors of the course has shown that the outcome negotiated by the students would likely result in global warming of about 2ºC, exceeding the 1,5ºC limit considered acceptable by experts, but nevertheless more favourable than projections based on current policies which predict a temperature increase of 2,5-2,7ºC.

This year’s Model UNFCCC was attended by students and their professors from the following CEMS schools: ESADE Barcelona (Rafael Sardá), Norwegian School of Economics (Paul Pelzl), Rotterdam School of Management (Steve Kennedy), SGH Warsaw School of Economics (Maciej Cygler), Stockholm School of Economics (Örjan Sjöberg), UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School (Andrew Keating and Colm McLaughlin), the University of Cologne (Marc Oliver Bettzüge and Maria Kotzias), the University of St Gallen (Nina Schneider and Adrian Müller) and Corvinus University of Budapest (Ágnes Zsóka and Anna Széchy).

The role of Presidency of COP29 simulation was undertaken by two CEMS Alumni: Adele Grundmann (South Pole, senior sustainability consultant, Germany) and Weza Bombo (EZ, sustainability consultant, founder and head of the Africa Association, Switzerland).

Read more about the event on Corvinus website

CEMS Model UNFCCC Corvinus