Climate CoLab

Institution: MIT Center for Collective Intelligence

In Brief

MIT Center for Collective Intelligence; global cc; >30,000 members


(2007, Cambridge, MA;

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Collective Intelligence has developed this crowdsourcing platform where citizens work with experts and each other to create, analyze, and select detailed proposals for what to do about climate change. Anyone can join the community and participate. Community members are invited to submit and comment on proposals outlining ideas for what they think should be done about climate change. These are placed into contests. In some cases, members create proposals for specific kinds of actions such as generating electric power with fewer emissions or changing social attitudes about climate change.  In other contests, members combine ideas from many other proposals to create integrated climate action plans for a country, a group of countries, or the whole world. Experts evaluate the entries and pick finalists, and then both experts and community members select the most promising proposals…As of May 2015, more than 300,000 people from all over the world have visited the Climate CoLab site, >50,000 have registered as members, and >1,000 proposals have been submitted.  In addition to members of the general public, the community includes >200 experts on climate change and related topics who serve as Advisors, Judges, and Fellows.” The community has also initiated >180 discussions.

In 2015, 27 contests were initiated, e.g., “How could a national price on carbon be implemented in the United States?”   Former US Secretary of State George Schultz, is one of the advisors on this contest; Adele Morris, Senior Fellow and Policy Director of the Climate and Energy Economics Project, is one of the judges.  Winners receive a special invitation to attend MIT’s SOLVE Conference and present their proposals before key constituents, where a $10,000 Grand Prize is awarded. Searchable contest archives extend back to 2009.  Funding from the National Science Foundation, corporate sponsors of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, the Argosy Foundation, the MIT Energy Initiative, and the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative.  Project Staff: 16, including John Sterman, Director of MIT’s System Dynamics Group; Principal Investigator: Prof. Thomas Malone.

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