United Nations Environmental Programme

Countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America

Topic A: Tackling climate change through the restriction of maritime cargo

Tackling emissions from the shipping industry is a key step in slowing down climate change that is often glanced over by the media. Due to the shipping industry’s ties to local governments, harbours and industries, the UNEP has the potential to pave the way to crucial changes. Annually, ships carry around 80% of the volume of all world trade and 70% of its value, making it a key element in the global economy. Although shipping is considered to be very energy efficient, it still uses large amounts of bunker fuels – a byproduct of crude oil refining that takes a heavy toll on the environment. 1000 million tonnes of CO2 are emitted annually from maritime transport and these are responsible for approximately 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Depending on energy, technological and economic developments, shipping emissions are predicted to increase by 50-250% in the next 30 years. Ultimately, the maritime cargo industry makes a sizeable contribution to global warming and climate change, and it’s global scope and likely increase in size due to globalization highlight the urgency of finding suitable and sustainable ways to target the issue.

Topic B: Using technological advances in crop development to reduce the environmental consequences of climate change

Even a minor changes in conditions can have a huge impact on the agricultural output of a single growing season, making long-term agricultural productivity particularly susceptible to current and future climate change. Certain plants, can cope with climatic changes on their own to a certain extent; others, such as base crops are much more sensitive, and these effects are felt by entire communities. But, there is not a lot of information on whether plants have the ability to naturally resist high-temperatures and further changes that are likely to occur in the near future. Human intervention may be needed to ensure that crops can survive in a changing world and to ensure future food security. If farmers are provided with the right information to help sustain their crop in the future, it is very likely that they can make many of the necessary adaptations on their own. However, most will find it very difficult because of the various obstacles they might be facing, such as the lack of funds to make such investments or poor soil quality. It is therefore the imperative to consider a global and local effort, with collaboration between local governments and the UNEP to aid farming communities through long-term sustainable development and financing research to develop new technologies and potentially crops, which could be accessible to all.