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5th November 2021

Today, a group of St Brendan’s students put their wits to the test and participated in the Bristol Schools Climate Conference 2021.

Alongside COP26, which kicked off this week in Glasgow, schools and colleges across the area took part in this exciting event hosted by InterClimate Network with support from Bristol City Council Youth Participation and Bristol Education Partnership. Its aim was to bring the critical COP26 debate to life for students in the region through a mix of UN-style global negotiations and interaction with local decision makers.

The conference challenged students to consider what’s involved in important negotiations and how competing interests could make international agreements difficult to reach.

Each school and college was allocated a country to represent and a team of five students from St Brendan’s participated in the Global Negotiations representing Russia. Charlie, Mollie, Rebecca, Nancy and Evie embraced the challenge of representing the nation which has a complex relationship with the climate crisis.

Evie said, “The event was a great experience. It was brilliant to be able to debate and listen to other perspectives on climate change, especially when we are all representing different nations around the globe! It surprised me how hard it could be to find common ground around an issue that has such a universal impact.”

She continued, “It was quite tricky at points: Lots of countries think that Russia could be doing a lot more to tackle the Climate Crisis. It was an interesting perspective to work with a team to find potential solutions for the future that were still in line with Russia’s past and current actions.”

The event took place online, and saw students from twelve different schools come together to debate and discuss climate change solutions. This all happened at the same time as the actual COP26’s Youth and Public Empowerment Day was in full swing in Glasgow.

The five

The five

This isn’t St Brendan’s students’ first brush with COP26.

Earlier this year, four A-level students from St Brendan’s also gained an insight into the United Nations International Climate Change Conference through a similar online conference run by the University of Bristol. 

The event, which was set up by environmental social scientists, Dr Jack Nicholls and Dr Emilia Melville from the university, ran in March and saw 48 students from 12 different schools take part in a structured negotiation exercise.

The online conference gave the students a chance to put their public speaking skills to the test, with three rounds of negotiations, before casting votes on five key climate change themes.