HOW SOCIAL CHANGE HAPPENS

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

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How Social Change Happens: International Cooperation on Climate Change

Haileybury Teacher Yang Ch'ng introduces the microcourses on International Cooperation on Climate Change.

Climate change is a global problem.

It is impacting human lives and threatens the essential ingredients of good health - clean air, safe drinking water, food supply, and safe shelter - and has the potential to undermine decades of progress in global health.

Tackling climate Change is what is called a global collective action problem. It involves the cooperation of every country, those who lead them, around the world.

But, as you will find in this set of HaileyburyX microcourses, it is difficult for these stakeholders to agree on their actions to mitigate emissions, and other factors, that contribute to climate change. 

You will learn that it is difficult for stakeholders to agree on their actions to mitigate emissions contributing to climate change. This is because:

The threat of climate change is different for every country

Every country has its own interests, priorities and views

There are varying power and influence dynamics among the global order, with implications on how issues are dealt with and whose interests are heard

An increasing, although still incomplete, scientific certainty about the nature, impact, and speed of change

Despite these challenges, numerous stakeholders comprising of institutions, NGOs, business and technology leaders, and activists have managed to increase the profile and urgency of climate change, culminating in the landmark Paris Agreement in 2015 – an agreement endorsed by almost every country in the world. Since then, many civil society organisations including grassroots figures such as Greta Thunberg has put pressure and accountability on world leaders to make decisions and commitments that adhere to their pledges.  

In these courses we will help you to

Understand the challenge of cooperation on climate change

Identify the diverse range of actors involved, their power and interests

Identify the incentives for international cooperation to climate change through aligning local interest with global needs

Understand what a plan to achieve global action for climate change might look like

These microcourses are just the start of learning about climate change and the challenge of international cooperation, and just the start of learning about what social change is.

We will provide a set of questions and some more things to read on each of the subjects we cover.

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HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Is climate change – or global warming as it was known in the 1990s and 2000s – fact or fiction?

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KEY PROTAGONISTS

The IPCC is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. Founded in 1988, it provides objective studies to understand climate change –  its impacts, future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation. 

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TOP EMITTERS

Since the Industrial Revolution, rising emissions of greenhouse gases have been the main driving force behind climate change. However, who is really responsible for emitting the most greenhouse gases?

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MOST VULNERABLE NATIONS

Climate change is a global problem, but its consequences are not evenly distributed around the world. Factors for how vulnerable communities are differ along geographical, income, or a combination of both.

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FLASH POINTS

Although acting on climate change is a global collaborative effort, geopolitical tensions between the two largest economies of the world can pose to derail the progress of climate change cooperation.

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INNOVATIVE BREAKTHROUGHS

As climate change becomes more severe over the years, international organisations, nongovernmental organisations, grassroots communities, and other civil society organisations have found new innovative ways to garner public attention and hold politicians and change-makers accountable to support climate change action.

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SHIFTING THE CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY

Given how large multinational corporations have gotten, some NGOs such as Oxfam have initiated innovative programs to pressure and hold corporations accountable in the fight against climate change.

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RENEWABLE AND EMISSION-FREE ENERGY

Technology has made remarkable breakthroughs in the renewable energy and emissions-free energy sector. Given that we still need energy for societies to function healthily, the enlightened response to climate change is not to demonise fossil fuel corporations but to find alternatives that can produce the energy we need with the least emission of greenhouse gases.

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WHAT TO READ ABOUT THIS SUBJECT

When you have completed the microcourses, here are some things you might like to read. 

Less is More: How Degrowth will save the world by Jason Hickel (Book)

Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway (Book)

Campaigns to Challenge Climate Change Science:How they made us doubt everything (podcast) https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000l7q1/episodes/player 

World 101 | Climate Change (educational resource)
 https://world101.cfr.org/global-era-issues/climate-change

Our World in Data | CO2 Emissions (data resource)
https://ourworldindata.org/co2-emissions

See What Climate Change Means for the World’s Poor by Gabe Bullard on National Geographic (article)
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/article/151201-datapoints-climate-change-poverty-agriculture

What’s Really Warming the World by Eric Roston and Blacki Migliozzi on Bloomberg Businessweek (data interactive)
https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-whats-warming-the-world/

Climate Action Tracker (data resource)
https://climateactiontracker.org