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George Shultz, Bob Inglis and Phil Sharp advise MIT Climate CoLab on carbon policy contest


Contest one of over a dozen that tackle global climate change challenges

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Most experts agree that placing a price on carbon emissions is one of the most effective ways to tackle climate change.  But so far, the U.S. Congress has yet to pass any laws that do so.  To address this, the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence’s Climate CoLab is using crowdsourcing to generate fresh, new ideas on how to get such legislation passed.  Today it launched a contest posing the question:  How can the U.S. Congress put a price on carbon emissions?

Serving as Advisors for this contest are former U.S. Secretary of State, George P. Shultz; former U.S. Representative (R-SC) and current Director of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative, Bob Inglis; and, former U.S. Representative (D-IN) and current President of Resources for the Future, Phil Sharp.

Anyone from around the world can contribute their ideas on creative policy ideas and approaches for mobilizing political support that could lead to passage of carbon price legislation.  Proposals will be reviewed by the Advisors and a panel of expert Judges.

“The MIT Climate CoLab is really onto something important here,” says Shultz.

“The US needs a price on carbon,” says Sharp, “and we need to rally the American people—and their elected representatives—to embrace that.  We’re working with the MIT Climate CoLab to generate some new ideas on how to get this done.”

“If done right, a price on carbon is good for our economy and for fighting climate change,” says Inglis. “Maybe someone out there has a breakthrough idea.  That’s why we’re running this contest.”

The carbon price contest is one of more than a dozen that are being launched over the next two weeks, each seeking innovative solutions to climate change.

Together, the contests cover a broad set of sub-problems that lie at the heart of the climate change challenge, including: decarbonizing energy supply, shifting public attitudes and behavior, adapting to climate change, geoengineering, transportation, waste management, reducing consumption, and others.

“As we explore the potential of the information age, this kind of technology-enabled, bottom-up approach is extremely promising,” says MIT Sloan Professor Thomas Malone, director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, and principal investigator for the Climate CoLab project.  “The internet allows previously inconceivable numbers of people to work together to address major world problems, like climate change.”

A number of the upcoming contests are being run in collaboration with organizations such as the World Green Building Council (“How can we empower the public to build demand for green buildings?”), the Washington think tank Third Way (“What can U.S. federal agencies do to mitigate climate change?”), and ICLEI Global – Local Governments for Sustainability (“How can cities become more resilient to the challenges brought on by climate change?” — pending launch).

All contest winners will have an opportunity to present to people who can support the implementation of their idea, including policy makers, business executives, and NGO and foundation officials.  They will also be invited to showcase their proposals at a conference held at MIT this fall, where a $10,000 Grand Prize will be awarded.  See highlights from last year’s Climate CoLab conference at:

In addition to submitting ideas, the Climate CoLab also welcomes people around the world to offer feedback and support proposals they find the most promising.

Submissions are due before July 20, 2014, 11:59 PM Eastern Time.  Enter soon to receive feedback from Climate CoLab community members and the experts who are overseeing the contests.  To submit a proposal, or read and comment on other proposals, see

Contest on passing a price on carbon:
All Climate CoLab contests:
Climate CoLab:
MIT Center for Collective Intelligence:

Victoria Ekstrom (MIT Energy Initiative)  617 253 3411