Deepen your understanding of Climate Change with these carefully crafted educational exercises that let you get the most out of this TED Studies subject.

Activity 1

Al Gore, James Balog, Lee Hotz, James Hansen and Naomi Klein are all working in various ways to increase the general public's knowledge of and engagement with climate change issues. In doing so, they need to have a good working knowledge of the issues, proficiency with the platform(s) they want to use to inform and engage, and an understanding of their audience(s).

Reflect on what you've learned in the modules, and choose one thing that particularly surprised, troubled or intrigued you. What kind of public outreach campaign could you design to share this with others? Develop a plan; in particular, consider how you can apply psychology research to make your campaign more effective. Good resources include:

Activity 2

As global warming melts the Arctic ice, it's opening up lucrative underwater reserves of oil and natural gas that were previously unreachable. BP, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell and other companies are lining up to explore the region. Canada, Russia and Denmark are all attempting to claim ownership of these underwater resources; Russia and Canada are staging military exercises along their northern borders to signal the seriousness of their intentions.

Imagine that you're writing an article on this development, and that you plan to incorporate commentary from five of the TED speakers featured in the preceding modules. What do you think each speaker would say about it? What do you think about it? Good resources include:

Activity 3

What comes after Kyoto? You and your classmates will work to develop elements of a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol. Each student will represent a key country in the negotiations, situated in a voting bloc. The objective of this activity is to successfully agree to commitments that most closely align with your nation's interests, as specified by the voting blocs (below).

You will play the role of your country's high-level climate envoy, working to strategically and diligently negotiate the 'best deal' for your country and its constituents. Negotiations will consider:

  1. Mitigation - emissions reductions commitments along a negotiated timeline to begin with the expiration of the second Kyoto commitment period in 2020.
  2. Adaptation - agreements on how the Green Climate Fund should disperse US$30 billion annually; who gets what, when and how?

Your instructor will play the role of Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The instructor will move between the different caucuses to mediate negotiations and offer short and neutral comments as solicited by you, the climate envoys.

Each voting bloc will present 3-minute arguments. First, arguments will open on mitigation. Second, arguments will be heard regarding the Green Climate Fund for adaptation.

During the final arguments and negotiations, two envoys deemed 'lead discussants' will have the opportunity to ask one question or make one statement directed to each voting bloc in the main forum, on either migitation or adaptation. These will be limited to 5 minutes total. All members of the voting blocs must help these discussants prepare optimally effective strategies. After these questions/statements, final agreements must be reached on both issues by the parties.

The Executive Secretary should specify the following:

  • While these voting blocs may represent similar mitigation and adaptation interests, it is a mistake to expect that everyone in your voting bloc is your ally. Ultimately you have been charged with the remit of getting the 'best deal' for your own country.
  • Envoys should frame arguments in the strongest terms that are politically and diplomatically palatable/appropriate.
  • Parties to the negotiations may not walk away from negotiations or from an agreement; all envoys recognize that an agreement must be reached in some form by the conclusion of negotiations.


  • European Union - Denmark, Netherlands, Portugal, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Spain
  • African Group - Kenyon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Angola, Egypt
  • AOSIS - Dominican Republic, Tuvalu, Malta, Fiji
  • Group of Eight (minus EU members) - Canada, Russia, Japan, United States of America
  • +Five - South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, People's Republic of China, India
  • Asia/Oceania - Australia, South Korea, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan
  • OPEC - Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Iran, Nigeria, Libya
  • ALBA - Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Cuba

Relevant talks