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Now open: Build a regional climate action plan


Update 07/16:  The contest deadline and proposal format has been edited, and this page has been updated to reflect those changes.

Today, the Climate CoLab launched six new contests where anyone can create their own regional climate action plan and estimate its effectiveness in addressing climate change.

The contests focus on six distinct regions: ChinaIndiaUnited StatesEuropeOther Developing CountriesOther Developed Countries.

Members can combine proposals from other Climate CoLab contests to form a coherent set of actions that can be taken in each region, and then work with a specialized team of emission modelers to estimate the plan’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

As a result, members create broad, comprehensive visions of what these regions — and the world as a whole — can do about climate change.  Submissions due August 31, 2015.

How will this work?

The structure of the Climate CoLab contests mirrors the way the world, and each individual country, is confronting climate change today: by breaking down the larger goal of cutting emissions and adapting to a changing climate into plans, action-by-action and region-by-region, then combining the plans to form a global climate agenda.  (See image, right.)

The Climate CoLab has launched six contests focused on different countries or groups of countries (what we’re collectively calling “regions”): China, India, United States, Europe, Other Developing Countries, Other Developed Countries

The Climate CoLab community is invited to bring together a collection of actions, which, when taken together, could effectively address climate change in these regions.

To create a regional plan:

Bring together a collection of actions, which, when taken together, could effectively address climate change in these regions.

Actions can be proposals submitted to other Climate CoLab contests, or ideas already out there in the world.

(1) Select your actions. The heart of a regional plan is in the actions it includes. When you click “Create proposal” on a regional contest page, you will be asked to select different actions (i.e. other proposals) that, when taken together, offer a strategy for how the region can reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.

Which proposals can I include in my plan?

  • Proposals on the Climate CoLab from any other current or past contest or Workspace. (Click here for tips on how to find proposals);
  • New proposals you create in the 2015 Proposal Workspace;
  • Ideas not yet on the Climate CoLab, such as policies already enacted or currently under consideration; action plans proposed by cities and governments; strategies being advocated for by non-government organizations and think tanks; technologies employed or in development.  Add them as proposals in the Workspace, reference the original author or organization, and then link them into your plan.

Including proposals in your plan. When editing your plan, you’ll have access to a proposal picker that will let you add proposals from different Climate CoLab contests.

(2) Explain your selections. You will be asked to justify how the actions you selected fit together; to describe the key benefits, costs, challenges and timeline of the plan; and to estimate the emissions that would result from the actions proposed.

(3) Estimate its impact.  You can work with a specialized team of emission modelers, called Climate CoLab Impact Assessment Fellows, to develop an overall estimate of the greenhouse gas emissions that would result from the combination of actions you propose.  Contact them to get started.

(4) Be a part of a global plan.   Combine your plan with other regional plans to create a strategy for the world as a whole, and test its impact on climate change.

See each regional contest page for details specific to that region.  See our new guide for details.

You don’t have to do it alone

Developing a strong regional or global proposal is a fair amount of work, and you may want to do it with a team of other people.

  • Find other potential teammates on the Regional & Global Plans discussion board.
  • Use the contest outline view to find proposals that can fit in your plan.
  • Join an existing team or add someone to your proposal’s team.  Visit the “Contributors” tab of a proposal and click the “Request membership” or “Add contributor”. Contributors have privileges to edit the proposal description.
  • Comment on other proposals to help the authors improve their work.

Need help?  Let us know.  We can provide help and connect you with potential teammates.

Why do this?

The goal of the Climate CoLab is to harness the ideas and expertise of thousands of people around the world to collectively develop plans for how to address global climate change. A key principle behind the Climate CoLab is breaking down the large, complex problem of climate change into a series of more focused sub-problems, such as energy supply, transportation, shifting attitudes and behaviors, adapting to climate impacts and many others. We seek ideas on how to address these sub-problems in contests; members submit, comment on, and vote for proposals, and winners are chosen.

But just breaking a problem into pieces isn’t enough. There also needs to be some way of putting the pieces back together to solve the overall problem.

We are launching these regional contests to pilot test a new approach, where community members can combine ideas from other contests or elsewhere to form proposals for regions and the whole world. In doing so, members will be able to piece all the different ideas together to estimate what their total combined effect could be.

Is there a prize?

Yes! Plans in these contests will be evaluated in large part on how well they bring together proposals from other contests to articulate a broad, coherent vision of what these countries, groups of countries and the world as a whole can do.

Judges Choice and Popular Choice winners will be recognized and publicized by the MIT Climate CoLab and invited to present their plans at a high-level gathering of influencers during MIT’s Solve conference this fall.

In addition, whether or not your plan won, if it is included in one or more winning global plans, you will receive Climate CoLab Points, and the top point-getters will receive shares of a cash prize of $10,000.

Questions?  Send us an email at