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Why these contests?

Breaking climate change up into sub-problems

The Climate CoLab breaks down the large, complex problem of climate change into a series of more manageable sub-problems.

These sub problems can be defined by a combination of What-Where-Who-How:

  • What action is being taken to address climate change
  • Where the actions are focused
  • Who is taking the action (what organizations and/or individuals)
  • How the action will be taken

The Climate CoLab's What-Where-Who-How taxonomy lays out all of the possible elements along each of these four dimensions.  

Here are some examples of sub-problems, each defined by a combination of What-Where-Who-How:

Deciding which sub-problems

In 2013, 2014 and 2015, Climate CoLab contests addressed a group of key sub-problems, which have been chosen for several reasons.

One goal was to achieve comprehensive coverage along the What dimension, so that any possible action have a contest to call home. The key types of actions are:

  • reducing emissions (mitigation),
  • figuring out how to live with climate change (adaptation)
  • intentionally modifying the climate at scale (geoengineering)

Some contests were chosen to address interesting or important aspects of the climate change problem; an example is the contest on changing cultural attitudes toward climate change.

Finally, some contest are based on collaboration between the Climate CoLab and an outside organization; examples include

Putting it all together

Once proposals have been developed to tackle sub-problems, the community will be invited to assemble combinations of these point solutions into broad, integrated proposals.