LJMU’s School of Law debaters take on Climate Change in The Big Green Student Debate


Debaters of LJMU’s School of Law reconvened during LJMU Green Week to participate in a challenging debate centred on the recent global climate change agreements made in Paris, December 2015.

The 2015 Paris Climate Conference – also known as COP21 – attracted over 38,000 delegates and 195 world nations to negotiate a landmark agreement to keep global warming below 2°C, lean away from global fossil fuel consumption and move towards a cleaner, low-carbon energy market.  It is hoped that the Agreement will be ratified on 21st April 2016 requiring at least 55 signatories.

The motion was announced just 24 hours before the debate, with a nod to the delicacy of the Agreement: “This house believes that the Paris climate change agreement of 2015 is too ambitious and unachievable in practice”.

Pictured above: Alex Jones, Patrick Pereira, Tom Riley, Stephanie Chen, George Lamb, Seun Odukogbe, and Gary Donaldson are all recent Alumni of the LJMU School of Law, whilst Marc Tyler is a current LL.B student.  The team have previously participated as finalists in the prestigious LJMU/Inner Temple Competition, organised by Honorary Fellow of the Inner Temple, Dr Alison Lui.

The debaters presented persuasive arguments considering the scope of the agreement’s legal enforcement, the role of large emitters such as the US and China, impact on lesser developed countries, and the urgency to move away from high-carbon energy fuels and mitigate climate change.

The debate was adjudicated by Lucy Antal, Sustainable Food Cities Co-ordinator and lead for Liverpool Food People, and Lucy Bricheno, Oceanographer and Hydrodynamic Modeller at the NOC.  Following deliberation, Alex Jones was awarded winner arguing against the motion with his impassioned conviction of the global need to halt climate change and that this was a principle on which world leaders were now in landmark consensus; Patrick Pereira came close as runner-up for the motion after questioning the commitment of the largest polluters and whether the 2°C threshold target was implausible. 

After the event the judges commented: 

“It was a challenge to judge between the debaters. They were articulate, informed and interesting in their different approaches and responses to the proposal topic. I enjoyed the lively discussions that took place outside the protected time frame.

Coming from a background in climate science I was impressed with the level of research they put in to support their arguments. I particularly enjoyed their interjections which were timely and well thought out.”

Dean of the Liverpool Business School, Timothy Nichol, introduced the event and commented afterwards:

“There was an extraordinary outpouring of emotion when the signing of the Paris agreement was announced. Two months on it was appropriate that we should have a chance, through considered and skilful debate, to reflect on the meaning and impact of that agreement. Those participating in the debate presented a series of well researched and skilfully crafted arguments that provided nuanced insights into a complex and important issue. I’m confident we came away from the debate knowing so much more than we did at the start of the evening.”

Image of Go Green debate

Image of Go green debate