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CFR Education


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Social Studies, Civics, Geography, English Language Arts

Resource Types

  • Projects
  • Interactive Media
  • Videos, 2 minutes, 12 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Assessments
  • Videos, various

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States


Google Docs

CFR Education: Global Climate Change Policy Simulation

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  • This case study simulation prompts students to act as representatives on a UN Security Council that is addressing international and United States domestic policy to combat climate change.
  • The case study resources are incredibly comprehensive, providing students with text, videos, and focus questions to help them understand enough background information to make informed decisions in their assigned role.
  • Depending on your class structure, this case study simulation could take 1 - 3 weeks to complete.
Teaching Tips


  • This simulation is an excellent way to prompt students to synthesize different resources (text, video, etc.), in order to provide an informed argument for their strategies for climate change foreign policy.
  • Students will consider a variety of governmental positions with varied perspectives on climate change impacts and responsibilities.
  • There are excellent guiding questions and built-in assessments to help students focus their research and discussions as they progress through the case study simulation.

Additional Prerequisites

  • In order to access the full case study and create a student experience, you must create a teacher account on the Model Diplomacy website and "enroll" your class in the simulation.
  • Students should have a basic understanding of how climate change is a global problem requiring solutions at many levels, including international agreements.
  • Students should have background knowledge on the Paris Agreement and some background on different roles within the presidential cabinet of the U.S. government.


  • As students read the "Situation" section in the case overview, encourage them to click underlined words to access a pop-up glossary which defines the terms and provides more related information.
  • It is highly recommended to create a graphic organizer for students to record their research as they discover information related to the Paris Agreement and their assigned role.
  • It may be helpful to create a short guide to operational rules of the National Security Council for students to reference as they participate in the simulation.
  • Since there is quite a bit of background research related to policy, international diplomacy, climate change, and specific governmental roles, it is recommended to schedule some linked videos and readings as homework and have students work together in their assigned roles during class time.
Scientist Notes
This resource from the Council on Foreign Relations walks students through a simulation of a National Security Council (NSC) meeting just before a major international climate summit. The resource provides a good introduction to global climate change policy, with a number of excellent videos included. The main issue and the decision point for the NSC meeting are outlined before students are assigned roles and asked to prepare a memorandum prior to the role play. Each role is clearly described with considerations and a list of external research leads is included. A web-based simulation tool is provided to streamline the whole process. This simulation really allows students to act as leaders shaping the United States’ climate policy. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.1.9-12 Distinguish the powers and responsibilities of local, state, tribal, national, and international civic and political institutions.
      • D2.Civ.11.9-12 Evaluate multiple procedures for making governmental decisions at the local, state, national, and international levels in terms of the civic purposes achieved.
      • D2.Civ.5.9-12 Evaluate citizens' and institutions' effectiveness in addressing social and political problems at the local, state, tribal, national, and/or international level.
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.10.9-12 Evaluate how changes in the environmental and cultural characteristics of a place or region influence spatial patterns of trade and land use.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text's explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.
  • Related Resources


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    • This resource is time consuming to use because there are multiple steps to become registered. Once registered there is not clear step by step directions on how to use the resource and would really require a teacher to sit down and focus on how they would use this resource in their classroom. Also students need to sign up for the resource which many students do not like to do.
      5 months ago