ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE PUBLISHED FOR EVERYBODY ROUND THE EARTH
Role play for four persons
You are attending an international youth camp. Four participants start to discuss climate change:
- Tom from the USA
- Martin from Germany
- Anne from Norway
- Sumitra from Bangladesh
Photo: Microsoft clipart
Tom: You are American and think that your country is the best place in the world to live and that it has a good form of government. You know that American scientists are good at climate research, and you think that they might be able to come up with some clever solutions to the climate problem. You don't find it reasonable that small states from remote corners of the world should tell the USA what is the right climate policy and how they should govern their economy.
Anne: You live in a small and rich country that is not particularly vulnerable to climate change. The oil industry is essential in your country's economy, and you are aware that this is contributes to CO2 emissions. Despite its "oil economy", your country prides itself in being "climate friendly" because it uses mostly hydroelectric energy. Politicians in your country have worked hard to establish international agreements to slow climate change. You think that the most important thing in the climate issue is to get all countries to sign international agreements like the Kyoto protocol.
Martin: You are active in an environmental organization, and your general view is that pollution has gone too far and that strong measures are now needed to save the Earth for future generations. You agree with Anne that there should be international agreements, but you think that these should be even stronger than what she suggests. Moreover, you think it is important that every individual works against pollution in his or her daily life.
Sumitra: You come from a country which has contributed relatively little to the climate problem, but which is very vulnerable to its effects. Floods are already a great problem in your low-lying country, and sea level rise, together with increased rainfall, are likely to cause serious problems for the population. Parts of the population are very poor and have small means of escaping or adapting to changed natural conditions. You feel that those who have created the climate problem, namely the industrialised countries, should take on the responsibility to do something about it. You also think that they should help your country and others in a similar situation to limit the effects of climate change.
Continue the discussion from the following exchange:
Maybe you don't know this, but the USA is probably the country which does the most research to find solutions to the climate problem. If American scientists find a way of burning oil without emssions to the atmosphere, then the problem is solved! I think we should focus more on research and less on rigid international agreements which limit a country's freedom.
But can we afford to wait for these solutions? And anyway, there is already so much extra greenhouse gas in the atmosphere that the changes have started. Who is going to pay when 100,000 poor people in Bangladesh lose their homes in a flood. A flood which is brought about or at least made stronger by YOUR CO2 emissions?
About this page:
Authors: Ellen K. Henriksen and Camilla Schreiner - University of Oslo - Norway.
Scientific reviewer: Andreas Tjernshaugen - CICERO (Center for International Climate and Environmental Research - Oslo) - Norway - 2004-01-20
Educational reviewer: Nina Arnesen - Marienlyst school in Oslo - Norway - 2004-03-10.
Last update: 2004-03-27.