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Ingrid Akerlind

Apr 11, 2014


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Vankent, We're excited that you've submitted a proposal to the Climate CoLab contests. We agree, actions that would combat climate change are underfinanced. And we agree, this should change. That said, the contest is asking what U.S. agencies could do to combat climate change now. Your proposal says that international organizations should be doing things, so right now it doesn't fit within the parameters. Maybe you can rework the proposal to suggest an action a U.S. agency could do within their powers that will help combat climate change. It won't solve the trillion dollar question, but it will get us partway there. We want to make sure this proposal fits within the contest prompt, so the Judges will be able to review it. Let us know if you have any other questions we could answer. Best, Fellows.

Bonnie Shorin

Apr 23, 2014


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What can US agencies do? Just to start, the Department of Commerce could countervail the mantra that environmental protection, including measures to reduce greenhouse emissions, are 'costs' that are a drain on the economy, by messaging through media, reports, publications etc where monies are spent in the "new economies" or "new business sectors" of clean technologies, re-greening communities, etc. This could go a long way to changing a the culture of resistance within business and industry.

Andrea Ruotolo

Jun 27, 2014


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First of all, thank you so much for sharing your ideas with Third Way and the Climate CoLab. We’re really excited to see what great things can happen with these proposals. The two fellows, Ingrid and I, wanted to give each team some constructive feedback while there are still several weeks before the proposal deadlines. These are not official critiques from the judges. Rather, they are intended to help you identify the areas in which your proposals can improve so the judges are likelier to pass you on to the final round. Good luck during the next three weeks! Relevance: • You mention the government to be the one to take the first step. I would encourage you to expound upon which federal agencies and what each organization should do to help achieve the goal of the proposal. • Moreover, it is not clear who the owner or responsible of the initiative would be. • What would be the intermediate steps to achieve 100% renewable? Feasibility • This is a very ambitious proposal that involves a new way of evaluating costs in the society and also the ambitious goal of 100% renewable energy. You yourself acknowledge these challenges, so focusing more on how different smart steps can address those challenges will strengthen the proposal. • Moreover, the proposal would be more clear if you can explain more on the model to achieve the goals of the proposal. Are there any transitioning steps? Originality/novelty • This is a novel solution Likely impact on climate change • I would like to see a more explicit link between the new green economy model and CO2 emission reductions or overall effect on the fight against climate change. Could you provide with some specific example? If you can quantify an effect, that would be even better. Presentation quality • Adding a bit more explanation to several questions will strengthen the proposal.

Climate Colab

Aug 5, 2014


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We appreciate the thought and broad research put into this proposal. A national clean energy/green bank or other national financing mechanism for clean energy is an interesting and popular idea. This is one of the strengths, but also one of the challenges of this proposal. By focusing on an idea that already has been introduced and received significant attention, a high bar is set to have this idea meet the novelty or thoroughness criteria. We do appreciate the ties to the international community, but feel this novel aspect is not as relevant to the U.S. government contest prompt. The author makes a compelling case about the seriousness of the threat posed by climate change and why there's urgency for the US and world to take action to address climate. However, less information is presented about the specifics of how a green bank would work to contribute to this, what its impact would be to finance projects that would reduce emissions, how this would occur, etc. As an example, it's unclear exactly how the federal government would be able to capitalize the bank -- and whether it could be done by executive action alone or would require legislation. Most importantly, the cost of this project is exceedingly high, and as such we question its economic and political feasibility. I'm not convinced that a national green bank would be able to make money out of nothing, as this proposal describes. I would encourage you to dig deeper on two fronts. First, you should figure out where the additional money is literally coming from. While it may look like leveraged money comes from nowhere, it actually comes from other uses, which means that investors need to view this use more positively than wherever else they would put their money. Second, I would encourage you to think about how desirable this level of leverage is. For example, does this proposal lead to a $500 billion portfolio that could be significantly weakened by a small budget change in the US federal government? In other words, we feel as it is written now, the proposal is neither feasible nor novel enough to warrant advancement to the semi-finalist round though.