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Bill DiBenedetto headshot

MIT’s Climate CoLab Puts Big Money Up for Big Climate Concepts


MIT’s Climate CoLab is looking for “high impact” ideas on how to deal with climate change through 22 contests that are now open to the public.

There’s even some semi-serious money involved for the winners. Contest topics cover a range of testy and tricky climate change issues, from adaptation, rural resilience, transportation, geoengineering and waste management to the “energy-water nexus.”

A project of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Collective Intelligence, the Climate CoLab seeks to “harness the knowledge and expertise of thousands of experts and non-experts across the world to help solve this massive, complex issue.”

“As systems like Linux and Wikipedia have shown, people from around the world—connected by the Internet—can work together to solve complex problems in very new ways,” said MIT Sloan professor Thomas Malone, director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence and principal investigator for the Climate CoLab project.

Climate CoLab has a growing community of more than 30,000 members from around the world. Anyone can join the platform — even Sens. Jim Inhofe or Ted Cruz — to submit their own ideas, or comment on and show support for other proposals on the site.

The CoLab said the U.S. Carbon Price contest is returning this year, which seeks innovative policy and political mobilization strategies on how to implement a carbon price in the United States. Serving as Advisors for this contest are Former U.S. Secretary of State, George P. Shultz; former U.S. Rep. (R-SC) and current director of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative, Bob Inglis; and, former U.S. Rep. (D-IN) and current president of Resources for the Future, Phil Sharp.

A number of contests are run in collaboration with other organizations, such as the World Bank Negawatt Challenge (Urban Energy Efficiency); the MIT Sloan Latin America Office (Energy Solutions for Latin America); and the City of Somerville, Massachussetts, (Atypical Solutions for Going Carbon Neutral).

Additionally, this year the Climate CoLab team announced a new set of contests in which people can create climate action plans for major countries, and for the whole world. In these contests, members combine proposals that have been submitted in other contests and use a suite of climate modeling tools to project the real-world climate impacts of the plans they create.

All contest winners will have an opportunity to present to people who can support the implementation of their ideas, including policy makers, business executives, and NGO and foundation officials, CoLab said. They will also be invited to showcase their proposals at MIT this fall, where a $10,000 Grand Prize will be awarded.

Submissions are due before May 16, 11:59:59 PM Eastern Time.

It's kind of a climate change contest wiki, only cooler because, well, MIT.

Image: MIT Climate CoLab logo via MIT

Bill DiBenedetto headshotBill DiBenedetto

Writer, editor, reader and generally good (okay mostly good, well sometimes good) guy trying to get by.

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