ACS Representative at COP28 climate meeting in Dubai

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Erika López-Lara

First-year graduate student and Fulbright Scholar Erika López-Lara (P. Weiss group) has been selected by the American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Environmental Chemistry to represent the ACS at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) in Dubai, UAE. 

The COP is an international event organized under the UNFCC focused on addressing the global climate crisis. It brings together leaders, policymakers, scientists, and activists from around the world to discuss and negotiate actions to combat climate change and its impacts. Examples of the outcomes of these conferences include the Paris agreement, Kyoto Protocol, etc.

Pending acceptance by the United Nations, López-Lara will be accredited as a non-governmental organizations (NGO) observer representing the American Chemical Society during one week of the two-week COP28.  She will be part of the ten-student team of undergraduate and graduate students from across the country attending the conference.

By sending this team, the purpose of the ACS is to promote climate literacy among college and university students. The ACS Public Policy Statement seeks to “promote climate science literacy and education for citizens and policymakers about human impacts on climate, and the consequences of climate change.” The UN international platform offers a forum to not just increase scientific understanding, but to engage in a constellation of social, political, ethical, and economic issues as well.

About Erika López-Lara

Erika received her bachelor’s degree in Nanotechnology and Chemical Sciences from Tecnologico de Monterrey and her dual master’s in Materials Science from University of Montpellier and University of Turin. She researched technologies for carbon capture and sequestration, biomaterials, and polymeric membranes for water electrolysis.

During her major, Erika founded the Worldwide Education in Environmental Development and Sustainability (W.E.E.D.S), an NGO based in Mexico that aims to make sustainability accessible for everyone. Currently, there are around 30 people working in the organization in two cities of Mexico. Their projects include a program for sustainable entrepreneurship, research and development of low-impact daily products, climate literacy for low-income children, social media activism, among other activities. Throughout the years, this organization have impacted thousands of people with the projects and formed many alliances. She is also a climate leader and mentor for people in Mexico and the United States at the Climate Reality Project.  Due to her activism activities, she has been a speaker in over 20 conferences including platforms such as TEDx and the European Union.

Erika is currently a first-year graduate student in Professor Paul Weiss’ group, where she is studying the development of a sustainable dyeing process for textiles and healthier sustainable protein sources. Her aim is to contribute with her work to tackle the environmental challenges we are facing.

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry,