Application Information

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

23rd Conference of Parties (COP 23)

November 6 - November 17, 2017

Background Information

At the “Rio Earth Summit” in 1992, nations from around the globe agreed to a convention with the ultimate aim of preventing dangerous human interference in the climate system.  This Convention—the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)—entered into force in 1994 and continues to provide the overall international policy framework for addressing the issue of climate change.  Today, the UNFCCC has near-universal membership with 195 parities (194 countries + the EU) having ratified the Convention.

Each year, the UNFCCC holds a Conference of Parties (COP) session—for example, the Third Session of the Conference of Parties (COP 3)—to review the Convention’s progress.  The COP serves as the “Supreme Body” of the Convention.  The only legally binding international agreement that sets targets for the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions is the Kyoto Protocol which was adopted in 1997 at COP 3 in Kyoto, Japan.  The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on February 16, 1995.  The United States stands alone as the only industrialized (Annex 1) country that has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol.  The first commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol is due to expire in 2012.

The ACS officially endorsed and supported a project which sent two students as officially accredited UN delegates to the December 2010 COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico.  This project was designated as an official “kick-off” event for the then-upcoming 2011 International Year of Chemistry (IYC 2011).  Based on the success of this project, ACS expanded this IYC 2011 project by sending five student delegates to the November/December 2011 COP 17 in Durban, South Africa. 

The importance of ACS and student engagement with the UNFCCC cannot be overstated.  The ACS Climate Change Position Statement recognizes that “Careful and comprehensive scientific assessments have clearly demonstrated that the Earth’s climate system is changing in response to growing atmospheric burdens of greenhouse gases and absorbing aerosol particles.”  The statement further recognizes that climate change is “largely caused by human activities” and that “actions are required to mitigate climate change risks.”  One of the actions recommended in this Position Statement is Climate Change Literacy and Education (Recommendation #4). 

COP 16, COP 17, COP 18, COP 19, COP 20, COP21, and COP 22 Student Projects

For background information, here is a link to the ACS web site that describes the COP 16 and COP 17 student projects:

A seed was planted at COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico.  Two students blogged under C&E News Editor-in-chief Rudy Baum’s Editors Page.

The seed sprouted at COP 17 in Durban, South Africa.  Both of these projects were firmly rooted in the 2011 International Year of Chemistry.

Here is a link to the South Africa COP17 student blog site:

And, here is a direct link to their COP 17 documentary.

The Sprout begins to grow at COP 18 in Doha, Qatar and continues at COP 19 and COP 20 in Warsaw and Lima. 

The COP 18 representatives used a website for blogging and promoting other materials and platforms.

We have grown significantly with the COP 19 group in Warsaw, Poland! And yet again at COP 20 in Lima, Peru.  Seven students from COP 19, nine students from COP 20, and eight students from COP21 participated with more blogging, facebook, instragram, and tweets!!  Find it all on the website;

These projects continue to demonstrate that social media can be used as an effective tool for a students-engaging-students climate change forum. 

A new International Agreement was reached at COP21 in Paris, France. Plans for implementation were made at COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco

Your COP 23 project in Bonn, Germany

COP 23 will continue the groundwork for implementing the Paris Agreement, the most recent binding agreement.  This will include significant step towards combating climate change.

We are again planning to send 8 students from diverse geographic regions and institutions to serve as ACS delegates at the UNFCCC COP 23 in Bonn.  COP 23 offers you the international platform to promote climate change literacy and education among college and university students along with the general public.  You will use your social networking skills—blogging, tweeting, Facebook, YouTube, and more!! As a tools to engage your peers. 

The United Nations will accredit a maximum of 3-4 ACS students to attend each week of the convention; therefore, 4 students will be selected to attend week-one and 4 students to attend week-two.  ACS will seek your UN accreditation and potentially provide you with a seed grant.  You will be responsible for your own transportation, housing, and meals.  There is no direct cost for attending the Convention.  If you are selected, you may receive an ACS seed grant.  This seed grant will facilitate fundraising through your institution, businesses, and industries. You will be responsible for raising funds to cover the trip to Morocco and the media training in Washington DC.     

Application Process

1.       Submit your application via email to Dr. Gregory Foy

2.       Submit a brief one-page essay describing your interest and qualifications for attending COP21.

3.       Briefly describe the following terms / organizations.

a.  ACS, COP 17, COP 18, COP 19, COP 20, COP 21, COP22, COP23, UNFCCC, IPCC, Kyoto Protocol, Paris Agreement

4.       Submit a sample blog that has relevance to COP 23.

5.       Submit known funding sources and potential funding sources like fundraisers, known supporters,    

                etc. (the trip will cost $4000-$5000 per student).

6.       Describe your understanding of your commitment to this project should you be chosen as an ACS  

                student representative to COP 23 in Bonn.

7.       What is the expiration date on your passport?

8.         We may request a phone interview or skype interview to complete the selection process.


Delegates Commitment and Timeline

·         April - June 15, 2017:  Accept applications.

·         June 15:  Deadline for receipt of application.

·         June: Review applications.

·         June 30:  Announce student delegates chosen to represent the ACS at COP 23.

·         September:  Student delegates and faculty mentors meet at the ACS National Headquarters in Washington, DC  

              to receive training on writing blogs and media outreach.  ACS will arrange meetings on Capitol Hill for students 

              to discuss public policy with climate change policy makers.

·         September:  Housing, flights, and other logistics are organized.  Students commence blogging and related social

              networking activities.

·         October:  Students continue blogging and social networking.  Students reach out to media via their home institution

               public relation offices to gain recognition of their project.


·         November:  Students engage their peers from UNFCCC on-site location.

·         January-March (2018):  Students continue follow-up blogs and social media out-reach and prepare a video

              documentary to upload to YouTube.

·     March (2018):  Students present COP23 experiences through a symposium, paper, poster, and/or  panel discussion at the ACS National Meeting in New Orleans You will be responsible for your own transportation, housing, and meals