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About the project

Objective

The goal of the Climate CoLab is to harness the collective intelligence of thousands of people from all around the world to address global climate change.

Inspired by systems like Wikipedia and Linux, the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence has developed this crowdsourcing platform where citizens work with experts to create, analyze, and select detailed proposals for what to do about climate change.

Approach

Anyone can join the Climate CoLab community and participate. Community members are invited to submit and comment on proposals outlining what they think should be done about climate change. In some contests, computerized simulation models project the environmental and economic outcomes of the proposed actions proposed. Experts evaluate the entries and pick finalists, and then both experts and community members select the most promising proposals. For more, see CoLab contests.

Activity to date

As of September 2013, more than 100,000 people have visited the Climate CoLab, representing every country in the world, and over 10,000 have registered as members.  The CoLab community also includes over 5,300 Facebook likes and more than 6,800 Twitter followers.

The community's most recent activities included 18 contests on a range of topics, from how to reduce emissions from electric power generation to how city governments can adapt to changes brought on by climate change.  Almost 400 proposals were submitted, and the 28 winning proposals came from US, India, South Africa, Nicaragua, Australia, China, Mexico, and other countries.  The winners presented their proposals before potential implementers at MIT's Crowd & Climate conference in November 2013.

The CoLab's 2011 contest addressed the topic: How should the 21st century economy evolve bearing in mind the risks of climate change?  Winning proposals came from teams with members in the US, Nigeria, India, and Australia. In January 2012, representatives of the winning teams presented their ideas in briefings at the United Nations in New York and the US Congress in Washington, DC.  For more see History of the Climate CoLab.

In future contests, community members will develop integrated proposals that bring together elements from many different sub-areas into overall proposed solutions for the whole world.

Outcome

By constructively engaging a broad range of scientists, policy makers, business people, investors, and concerned citizens, we hope the Climate CoLab will help to develop, and gain support for, climate change plans that are better than any that would have otherwise been developed.