CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MIT Sloan School of Management’s Climate CoLab recently announced the winners of its 2011 contest in which participants proposed ideas for how the 21st century economy should evolve in light of the risks of climate change. The top proposals covered a wide range of ideas, including cycling carbon, going meatless, and utilizing personal rapid transit. The winning proposals -- voted on by members of the Climate CoLab community and a panel of expert judges -- will be featured in briefings at the United Nations and U.S. Congress in late January.
“Even though the problem of what to do about global climate change is very complex, recent examples like Wikipedia, Google and Linux show that it’s possible to harness the collective intelligence of thousands of people around the world to solve complex global problems. Our goal with the Climate CoLab is to apply that approach to the problem of climate change,” says MIT Sloan Professor Thomas Malone, director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, which leads the Climate CoLab.
He adds, “I was pleased to see how many interesting and innovative proposals we received in this year’s contest. They came not only from places you might expect, but also from some surprising locations like Africa and India – and from people with no professional background in climate change.”
Research scientist Rob Laubacher, who manages the Climate CoLab and is associate director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, says the contest also was notable for the increased level of community feedback provided to participants. In the final stage of the competition, more than 1,750 votes were cast by Climate CoLab community members to select the “Popular Choice” winners.
Focusing on the green economy, which is a key theme at the upcoming United Nations Rio+20 Conference, participants were asked to submit proposals with either a national or international approach. In all more than 60 ideas were entered into the contest from teams around the world.
In the global category, the winner of the Popular Choice Award was a proposal that combined the top ideas from the 2010 contest. Meeting at a Congressional briefing last year, those winning teams agreed that contestant Dennis Peterson, a software engineer from North Carolina, would combine the best elements of their proposals to enter this year’s contest. The new proposal focused on a North/South approach to global agreements for emissions reductions as well as lowering mitigation targets to make them more achievable and using technology and policies to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
Second place in the global category went to a U.S. team whose members are affiliated with a political blog, the Daily Kos. Proposing a reduction in meat eating in order to reduce high impact greenhouse gases, they also received a judges’ special commendation for their proposal’s combination of scientific focus and grassroots activity.
In the national category, Peterson again won first place for his proposal about cycling carbon in the U.S. Second place in the national category was awarded to a graduate student team from India, which proposed ideas for how to reduce emissions in their country and use technology for monitoring.
Two Judges’ Choice Awards were presented in the national category. One was awarded to a team from Nigeria proposing that university students work with subsistence farmers not only to mitigate climate change, but also to ensure that farming practices adapt to new climate conditions. The other Judges’ Choice Award went to an MIT computer science researcher who proposed the use of personal rapid transit systems in urban areas in the U.S.
Judges in this year’s competition included: Shoibal Chakravarty of Princeton University’s Environmental Institute, David Goldston of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Martin Heimann of the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, William Moomaw of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and Susan Solomon of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“This year’s contest was a great success and we’re looking ahead to next year when contestants might be able to propose solutions that address particular aspects of the overall global problem,” says Malone. “There are many smart and creative people around the globe interested in climate change and we hope they participate in the Climate CoLab community and next year’s contest.”
For more information about the Climate CoLab, please visit: http://climatecolab.org
For more information about the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, please visit: http://cci.mit.edu
For more information about Prof. Malone, please visit: http://sloan.mit.edu/faculty/detail.php?in_spseqno=41335&co_list=F