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White House features Climate CoLab


The White House has featured the Climate CoLab, along with other commitments by Federal agencies and private-sector partners, as a platform that is consistent with President Obama’s Climate Data Initiative, an effort to leverage data to help the American people understand and prepare for climate change.

Professor Thomas Malone, Director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence and Principal Investigator for the Climate CoLab, will be present at the White House event where the Initiative will be launched tonight at 5:15 PM EDT.  You can watch online at

The following is an excerpt from the White House Office of the Press Secretary’s official Fact Sheet on the initiative.

FACT SHEET: The President’s Climate Data Initiative: Empowering America’s Communities to Prepare for the Effects of Climate Change

“Climate change is a fact.  And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.”– President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address, January 28, 2014

Last June, President Obama launched a Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution, prepare communities for the impacts of climate change, and lead international efforts to address this global challenge. The plan recognizes that even as we act to curb the carbon pollution that is driving climate change, we must also prepare our citizens and communities for the climate impacts that are already underway across the country.

Delivering on a commitment in the President’s Climate Action Plan, the Obama Administration is today launching the Climate Data Initiative—a broad effort to leverage the Federal Government’s extensive, freely-available climate-relevant data resources to stimulate innovation and private-sector entrepreneurship in support of national climate-change preparedness.

President Obama is committed to ensuring that communities across America have access to the information and tools they need to protect themselves from harm today and potential damage in the future. This means connecting regional and city planners, resource managers, farmers, hospitals, and businesses with data-driven tools to help them better understand, manage, and prepare for the real-world impacts associated with climate change. Maps of future sea-level rise, for instance, can help builders decide where to break ground out of harm’s way, while other online tools can help water utility operators identify potential threats to the local water supply.

Insights gathered from data can help communities and businesses better understand and manage the risks associated with climate change. However, taking data about climate that is collected by satellites and scientific equipment and turning it into easy-to-use information and tools takes analysis, innovation, and cutting-edge technology expertise.

Through the Climate Data Initiative, the Obama Administration is today issuing a call to America’s top private-sector innovators to leverage open government data resources and other datasets to build tools that will make America’s communities more resilient to climate change and to forge cross-sector partnerships to make those tools as useful as possible.  In response to this call to action, today’s launch includes a number of commitments by Federal agencies and private-sector partners:

MIT Climate CoLab: Crowdsourcing Solutions to Global Climate Change Preparedness. The Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) Center for Collective Intelligence runs the Climate CoLab, an online platform to crowdsource solutions for what to do about global climate change. Over 10,000 people from around the world have registered as members and have submitted more than 400 proposals in contests ranging from how to generate electricity with fewer harmful emissions, to how to increase public understanding about climate change. The MIT Climate CoLab recently launched three global crowdsourcing contests, in line with the White House Climate Data Initiative, to generate solutions to climate change preparedness and resilience: (1) What can be done to adapt to the impacts of climate change? and (2) How can crowdsourcing provide more efficient disaster risk management?  To help the public understand the potential impacts of climate change, MIT Climate CoLab’s platform also includes computer simulation models to predict phenomena such as temperature change and sea level rise.

Read the full press release from the White House:

Another contest that aligns with the Climate Data Initiative’s mission is ICLEI’s What priority actions can urban areas take to increase their resilience to climate change?