World Climate Interactive Negotiation Simulations to be held at Maine schools in October

University of Maine graduate students are partnering with schools across Maine to host World Climate Interactive Negotiation Simulation (WCS) activities.

The simulation activity was developed by the nongovernmental organization Climate Interactive and involves a role play in which participants act as country delegates and work together to negotiate a global climate agreement.

The simulation emulates negotiations that will take place at the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) to negotiate policy to reduce the effects of climate change and support community adaptation to current impacts. About seven delegates from UMaine will attend this year’s conference, focused on implementing the Paris Agreement, in Katowice, Poland in December. These delegates include Anna McGinn, a master’s student in the UMaine School of Policy and International Affairs and the Climate Change Institute, and Will Kochtitzky, a master’s student in the UMaine School of Earth and Climate Sciences and the Climate Change Institute.

With collaboration from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program, a team led by McGinn and Kochtitzky plan to use UMaine Extension’s Follow a Researcher® program to virtually bring students to Poland for COP24. Students will be able to experience the negotiations through blog posts, tweets, live video conferences, and interviews with country negotiators, heads of NGOs and other delegates.

“A central piece of our attendance at the COPs is to draw connections between these international efforts and the state of Maine,” McGinn says. “Attending the COPs presents a unique opportunity for researchers in Maine to explore how scientific research feeds into international decision-making on climate change to build relationships with leading policymakers, physical and social scientists, and practitioners from around the world.”

The programs will be held in the following schools during the 2018–19 school year:

  • King Middle School in Portland, 9:30 a.m.–noon Oct. 10
  • Loranger Memorial School in Old Orchard Beach, Nov. 5
  • Biddeford Middle School, Feb. 15
  • Durham Community School in February
  • Madawaska Middle/High School in March
  • Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport, March 28 and 29
  • Leonard Middle School in Old Town in May
  • Falmouth High School, date TBD

“We hope this opportunity will allow students to understand the basics of climate science, the urgency of the problem, and empower them to take action in their own lives,” says Kochtitzky.

The UMaine team in the past has run the simulations at the Climate Change Institute annual retreat, the Upward Bound UMaine STEM summer program, the Camden Conference in coordination with the UMaine School of Policy and International Affairs, and the Maine Science Teachers Association annual conference and a Belfast community program, both in cooperation with the UMaine Hutchinson Center. The team also plans to host another simulation with the Belfast Climate Change Committee this fall.

After returning from the conference, the team plans to continue the outreach effort by planning additional WCS sessions and conversations in schools, and giving presentations at UMaine about their work.

If you are interested in bringing the WCS to your school, contact Anna McGinn at 508.527.6423, To register your classroom, community group or family to participate in the Follow a Researcher® program, visit