Head Chair: Kaitlyn Hatfield Vice Chair: Nick Hassas Moderator: Kaitlin Vu
Position papers will be due on February 2, 2018. The position paper format, and all other important conference documents, can be found on our conference website, http://lhhsconference.weebly.com/. Email all position papers to our committee email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to contact us via email if you have any questions or concerns!
Hello, delegates, my name is Kaitlyn Hatfield and I am your head chair. I am a senior at Laguna Hills High School and this is my fourth year in Model United Nations. I run sprints on our school’s track and field team. I’ve also been involved in girl scouts for eleven years as well as being a board member of our school’s Think Pink breast cancer club for the past two years. Hello, my name is Nick Hassas and I will be your vice chair. I am currently a Junior and It's my second year in MUN. Outside of MUN, I enjoy playing on the varsity soccer team and track and field team. Hi, my name is Kaitlin Vu and I will be your moderator. I am a sophomore and this is my second year of MUN. Some extracurriculars I am involved in include being a board member of Red Cross club and Athletes for Character.
Topic A: Fracking
Background: Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, is the method of inserting a mixture of water, chemicals, and sand into rocks and rock formation at high pressure in order to create fissures that will allow the extraction of natural gas and oil. Hydraulic fracturing was first invented by American Civil War veteran Colonel Edward A.L. Roberts in 1862. Fracking is a highly controversial issue. Supporters of fracking state that it increases economic activity and helps supply the everyday need for low cost energy. Critics argue that fracking contaminates underground drinking water resources and releases dangerous gases that contribute to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Some states like the United States have embraced fracking and are heavily relying upon it as their energy source, while other countries like Scotland and Germany have banned the process in fear of it leading to environmental and health issues. Several environmental NGOs, like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, oppose the use of fracking to obtain natural gas and oil.
UN Involvement: Although there have been many responses on a national level, the United Nations has not met in regard to the specific topic of fracking. Overall, the United Nations would refuse to intervene in state or country businesses as it goes against their policy. However, the UN has met and debated the overall topic of climate change and how fracking plays a role within it. On the other side, there has been many NGOs who have taken action against fracking. These NGOs such as the Alliance for Sustainable Communities and Sierra Club have taken action for countries and their respectful governments to move towards a renewable source of energy. Additionally, there has been very minimal research conducted by the UNEP. For example, the UNEP stated that this technique presents various environmental risks such as air, soil, and water contamination; water usage competition; ecosystem damage; habitat and biodiversity impacts and fugitive gas emissions. Additionally, the report suggests there are other public dangers that are present. These dangers outlined by the UNEP suggest that the chemicals used in the process can cause cancer and mutations. Furthermore, the UNEP advises that fracking shouldn’t be done in areas of water scarcity, densely populated cities, or places with agriculture. Furthermore, they advocate for more training (for waste disposal, spills, and leaks), implementing gas separation and for developing more advanced injection wells. Altogether, the UNEP’s goal is protect and maintain the environment. Therefore, the UNEP considers a variety of solutions in order to resolve the issues of fracking within the environment. These considered solutions are: the ban of harmful chemicals, creating new and efficient enforcement procedures, instructing companies to fund restoration and environmental alleviation projects, as well as to eventually make an effort of transition into renewable sources.
Western Bloc: North American countries are greatly supporting the utilization of fracking. Canada and The United States of America produce a large amount of shale gas. Protests against fracking have been very popular amongst North Americans. Hydraulic fracking has been banned in France. On the contrary, Germany has the most amount of hydraulic fracking related jobs of all European countries. Fracking in the United Kingdom did not become popular until 2007 when onshore shale gas wells were proposed. Latin Bloc: Fracking is becoming increasingly popular in Latin countries. The expansion of fracking into the Latin bloc has left a large threat to the world’s largest aquifer. Mexico has recently passed a reform which promotes the use of fracking as a means to extract shale gas. Argentina is known as the capital of fracking amongst Latin American countries. They received this nickname since they have many oil-producing wells in the Neuquén Basin. African Bloc: Algeria has had a lot of success with fracking in the past. They have started to receive complaints from their citizens against fracking since it is destroying the environment. Algeria has statistically been the top producer of natural gas in all of Africa. They also supply a large amount of natural gas to various European Nations. Over 75% of South Africa’s energy is currently coming from coal. They would like to lift their moratorium to increase the amount of jobs in South Africa. Air pollution and groundwater contamination has been holding back South African citizens from fully supporting fracking. Asian Bloc: China is one of two countries which is currently spearheading the development of shale extraction, alongside Argentina. Since the extraction of shale gas has been so popular in western bloc countries over the past couple of years, Asian countries have recently been trying their luck with shale gas extractions. According to the IEA, the two biggest importers of oil are China and and India. China is still trying to catch up to the United States and the amount of success they have had regarding fracking. They continue to drill more wells as their availability to new technology has increased.
Questions to consider: 1. How important is the issue of fracking to your country?/ How does fracking affect your country? 2. What types of governmental programs have been implemented in your country regarding fracking?/ What policies has your country created regarding fracking? 3. What kind of effects does fracking have on your country? 4. Why has your country taken the stance they have towards fracking? 5. Does your country currently have any laws regarding fracking?
Background: Every year, over 10 million tons of toxic chemicals are produced by industries worldwide. Toxic chemicals are released and created throughout the entire life of a product, from the obtaining of unprocessed resources to the manufacturing of the product to the disposal of its leftover waste. These toxic chemicals subsequently enter food chains, water supplies, lakes, rivers, oceans, soil, and natural environments which can lead to health issues in wildlife and humans. The contamination of resources and the environment are caused by chemical dumping, the process of disposing of hazardous and toxic wastes. Often, in order to avoid having to pay expensive fees, industries choose to illegally dispose of hazardous wastes. Some illegal methods of chemical dumping include sending wastes to landfills not qualified to handle toxic wastes, discarding it in municipal trash bins, incorrectly transporting or pouring liquid toxic wastes into rivers, oceans, and sewer systems. Chemical dumping has led to pollution in the air, land, and sea, sicknesses and death among humans and animals, contamination in water supplies and many other issues. One example of chemical dumping is 3M, an American multinational corporation, who is currently being sued by the state of Minnesota for dumping large amounts of dangerous chemicals for almost 50 years while knowing the negative effects it has on nearby underground water sources. Effects of 3M dumping chemicals include the contamination of nearby water sources within 150 square miles of the dumping site and an increase in cancer and premature births among peoples nearby.
UN Involvement: In order to stop the illegal chemical dumping, the United Nations has taken various past actions and is still continuing to look towards better solutions to this issue. Currently many committees are involved such as the Officer of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UNEP and many more. The OHCHR has met a total of five times in order to discuss the effects that illegal chemical dumping has on individuals. Furthermore, they passed the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation in 2002, which continued to monitor factors that affect the environment. The UNDP has set a goal (to be completed by 2020) to ensure that all chemicals used globally will lead to the least possible harmful effect on human health and the environment. Meanwhile, the UNEP has taken many significant steps. First, the UNEP has created its own separated chemicals branch under the Division of Technology, Industry and Economics. They collaborate with other countries to build a capacity for the clean production and disposal of chemicals. Additionally, they work with various international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and other UN committees. Some NGOs that are involved are: ABLOS and the Greenpeace International Toxics Campaign. These NGOs investigate and document the toxic waste trade. Overall, the United Nations have taken many significant steps in order to prevent the illegal dumping of chemicals.
Western Bloc: The western bloc has strict environmental laws in hopes that they can keep their territory clean. These laws prohibit them from dumping chemical waste into their own countries. When looking at the whole world, they produce the most amount of chemical waste. Specifically, the United States is the largest producer of chemical and electronic waste and has been for awhile now. Since the Western bloc consists of mostly developed countries, it looks towards finding different developing nations to offload its waste to. Latin Bloc: Many companies are wanting to dump their toxic waste and soil with low levels of radioactivity into Argentina. Most of this waste comes from European countries and the United States. It is too expensive for industrialized companies in Europe and the US to dump their waste in their own countries so every day they are looking more towards sending trash across seas to various Latin countries. They are currently receiving the largest amount of industrial waste they have ever seen coming from these two regions. On average, about 200 tons of plastic waste comes to Argentina from the United States and Europe. African Bloc: Chemical dumping is greatly polluting Africa. Other nation’s trash and chemical waste is being utilized to fuel fires in Africa. Africa contains many scrap yards for other countries to send their trash to. However the majority (85%) of e-waste dumping in countries like Ghana and West Africa are in fact created by West Africa. Thus their causes of pollution cannot be entirely blamed on other outside countries. This is polluting their air causing worsening living conditions in the continent. A big portion of toxic waste is sent to Africa since many nations within Africa are still developing. A portion of countries in Africa signed multiple agreements which restricted the importation of extremely hazardous and dangerous materials in 1988. Asian Bloc: Many Asian countries are becoming dumping grounds for our world’s chemical waste. India and South Asia specifically are receiving the most amount. Likewise, China accounts for nearly 70% of where our electronic waste ends up. Asian countries are in need of more jobs so other countries and companies ship their waste to Asia where the guidelines are looser and the waste can be processed down. Asian countries do not have as strict of environmental laws therefore it is easiest for companies to ship their waste there.
Questions to consider: 1. What steps has your country previously taken to eradicate chemical dumping? 2. How has awareness of chemical dumping spread throughout your country? 3. What are the possible harms of chemical dumping for your country? 4. How does chemical dumping affect your country specifically? 5. What can your country do to help prevent chemical dumping? 6. What kinds of laws does your country have regarding chemical dumping? 7. What is your country’s stance on chemical dumping?