Seoul Model G20
After all attending the Tuft’s University GLOBE Seminar in Talloires together in September 2010, John Lim, Martha Elise Hampton, and I decided to enter the official Model G20 in Seoul, mandated by the Korean Presidential Commission for the G20. Despite China being vilified in the media in the weeks leading up to the G20 due to manipulation of the RMB, we made a bid to represent China and began to develop policies and arguments based on avoidance of the currency issue and promotion of an unexpected green-growth strategy.
We faced tough competition from a number of teams – specifically from the United States and Germany. However through crafting agreements on a number of issues with India, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia, we were able to pass the majority of policy measures we had planned (and block a few that didn’t suit our interests). In the end we won first place, selected by the Model G20 Secretariat, the judging panel, and our peers.
During our closing remarks, we felt it necessary to explain why China would come to a G20 conference with climate change at the top of its agenda. Along with Brazil, India, Russia, and South Africa, China was the key player in blocking significant emissions agreements at Copenhagen. However at the same time China is making signs that it is positioning itself to be the major player in renewable energy technologies in the 21st century. Huge investments have been made in wind farms and electric cars, and with its vast reserves of rare earth metals, it is in a strong economic position in terms of advanced circuitry and battery technology. It is therefore not a stretch to argue that China would push for cooperation among developing nations in terms of green growth investment – as that would more than likely result in opportunities for FDI by China into markets that are neglected by the West for political reasons.
It remains to be seen whether this is the tack that China will take in the coming decades. But as a strategy, it put us in a strong negotiating position and enabled us to walk away with the win.