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Breakout Sessions

In the spring of 2014, the Climate CoLab opened up 18 contests, each focused on a challenge the world is facing as we confront climate change.  From 600 submissions, 34 proposals were chosen by our expert teams of judges and by the Climate CoLab community as winners, and will be presenting in person and virtually in interactive breakout sessions.  In these sessions, attendees could work with the winning authors and experts to create concrete actions and connections to help the proposals come to fruition.  The name of the person presenting on behalf of the winning team is listed next to the proposals below.

Attendees may choose one of the three or four concurrent sessions to attend. 

Thursday Morning
10:45 am - 12:00 pm
Transforming How Business Does Business:
Thursday Afternoon
3:30 pm - 4:45 pm
Policy Change:

Friday Morning
10:30 am - 11:45 am
Community-Based Efforts / Reshaping Attitudes:


Transforming How Business Does Business

Thursday morning, 10:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Influencing the Building Industry
20 Chimneys, 3rd floor, Stratton Student Center

 Improve Building Energy Performance: Green Job Skills Training / Danielle Dahan (USA)
Judges' Choice - Buildings Contest

As high performance green buildings increase in complexity, technicians need the skills to maintain buildings and achieve energy goals.



 Passive Architectural Design Index: A benchmark for passive building techniques /  Sriraj Gokarakonda (Germany)

Popular Choice - Buildings Contest

Unless ‘sufficiency' is addressed with same rigour as ‘efficiency', energy usage is inadvertently increased resulting in a rebound effect.


 COFA: Climate Optimized Fenestrations for Buildings in Developing Nations. / Prof. Pradeep Kini (India)

Judges' Choice - Buildings Contest

Climate adaptive energy conserving commercial building envelopes with analytical tool COFA:Climate Optimized Fenestration Assembly.


Session Experts

Harvey Michaels, Director, MIT Energy Efficiency Strategy Project

Stephen R. Connors, Director, Analysis Group for Regional Energy Alternatives, MIT Energy Initiative

Shawn Hesse, architect, emersion DESIGN & Climate CoLab Fellow (moderator)



Influencing Large Firms
Coffeehouse Lounge, 3rd floor, Stratton Student Center

 Grocery Carbon-Coloured Shelving /  Hannah Ritchie (United Kingdom - Scotland)  Presenting virtually

Popular Choice - Consumption of Products & Services Contest

Design a coloured shelving system for grocery products based on carbon footprint,to help consumers make better-informed choices.


 Fossil fuel divestment: Building a social movement for collective climate action /  Geoffrey Supran, Fossil Free MIT (USA)

Popular Choice - Shifting Behavior for a Changing Climate Contest

Fossil fuel divestment campaigns shift public opinion, empower young organizers, and generate sociopolitical willpower for climate action.


 Pollution meter /  Shenbagarajan Pandiarajan (France)  Presenting virtually

Popular Choice - Transportation Contest

Pollution prediction meter in automobiles & display panels over the roads + Emissions trading


Session Experts

Matthew Swibel, Director of Sustainability Strategy, Lockheed Martin Corporation
Victoria Mills, Managing Director, Environmental Defense Fund
Jason Jay, Director, MIT Sloan Sustainability

Bob Halperin, Research Affiliate, MIT Center for Collective Intelligence (moderator)



Cleantech Startups
Mezzanine, 3rd floor, Stratton Student Center


 Turn your phone into a virtual power plant and get paid to optimize your energy. / Matt Duesterberg, Ohmconnect (USA)  Presenting virtually

Judges' Choice - Energy Supply Contest
Pay people to use less electricity at key moments when their energy is coming from the grid's most carbon-intensive power plants.


 Path To Zero - transforming energy inefficient buildings to green buildings /  Arash Aazami, BAS Nederland (Netherlands)

Judges' Special Commendation & Popular Choice - Creating Public Demand for Green Buildings Contest; Popular Choice - Energy Supply Contest

Bring cities to energy independence through carbon, energy and cost neutrality.


 Batteries on the move for a more efficient world /  Lance Noel, eRev (USA)

Judges' Choice - Transportation Contest

eRev finances V2G-capable electric vehicles so they provide grid storage, generate revenue, and cost less than traditional vehicles.


Session Experts

Albert Wenger, Venture Capitalist, Union Square Ventures
Dennis Costello, Managing Partner, Braemar Energy Ventures

Jeff Harti, Policy Advisor at Ontario Ministry of Energy & Climate CoLab Fellow (moderator)



Startups Serving Emerging Markets
Private Dining Room 1&2, 3rd Floor, Stratton Student Center


 REACC (RECYCLED DEBRIS FOR ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE)/  Victor Blanco (Venezuela)  Presenting virtually

Judges' Choice - Waste Management Contest

Cement Production is the 4th global fossil carbon emission activity and it´s time to reduce and recycle debris for healthy environment


 Using Biogas Technology To Improve Sanitation And Mitigate Climate Change /  Osero Shadrack Tengeya (Kenya)  

Popular Choice - Waste Management Contest

Uncontrolled greenhouse gas emission from sewage waste will be reduced by using simple technology like utilizing this waste in making biogaslity.


 STRAUT Aero: Solar Hot Air Generator /  Sharad Parekh, STRAUT (India)

Popular Choice - Industry Contest

#STRAUT AERO #Innovative design #solar hot air gen. massive potential 4 addressng industrial process heat req. #economic wthout subsidies


Session Experts

Christina Becker-Birck, Senior Consultant, Meister Consultants Group

Anna Lerner, Energy and Climate Change Specialist World Bank, Latin America & Caribbean region

Juliet Simpson, MIT Sea Grant & Climate CoLab Fellow (moderator)

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Policy Change

Thursday afternoon, 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM

Local Policy
20 Chimneys, 3rd floor, Stratton Student Center

 Food bikes: the low capital, low footprint alternative to food trucks /  John Romankiewicz, The Food Bikery (USA)  Presenting Virtually

Judges' Choice - Consumption of Products & Services Contest

Food bikes are the low capital, low footprint alternative to food trucks, bringing positive economic and community development.


 Municipal adaptation strategy to climate change in Costa Rica /  Sergio A. Molina-Murillo, UNA Team (Costa Rica)

Judges' and Popular Choice - Adaptation to Climate Change Contest
Implementation of climate strategy at Municipal level by empowering and training local actors with focus on agriculture and water resources.


 Stop Groundwater Plan - Save $8 Billion /  Saïd Majdi (USA)

Judges' Choice - Adaptation to Climate Change Contest

Systems thinking leads to a regional desalination plan to replace a narrowly conceived, costly and destructive groundwater pumping plan.


 GreenUp - Engaging communities to build green & resilient cities in India /  Aditi Sen

Popular Choide - Urban Resilience: Climate Actions for Urban Areas Contest

A crowdsourcing platform that provides funds and educational resources to encourage adoption of green infrastructure practices in cities.


Future mangroves /  Poh Poh (Singapore)  Pre-recorded presentation

Judges' Choice - Adaptation to Climate Change Contest
Mangroves to address sea level rise and coastal erosion


Session Experts

Henrietta Davis, Former Mayor, City of Cambridge
Cynthia Greene, Manager, Climate and Energy Unit, US Environmental Protection Agency

Eric Chu, Environmental Policy and Planning, MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning

Rachel Finkelstein, MIT DUSP & Climate CoLab Fellow (moderator)


National Policy
Mezzanine, 3rd floor, Stratton Student Center

 A Carbon Tax in Pro-Growth Fiscal Reform /  Adele Morris (USA)  Presenting virtually

Judges' Choice - U.S. Carbon Price Contest
Use a carbon tax for pro-growth tax reform, protecting the poor, deficit reduction, and reducing less efficient policies.


 The Little Engine That Could: Carbon Fee and Dividend /  Peter Joseph, CitizensClimateLobby (Canada, USA) 

Popular Choice - U.S. Carbon Price Contest
A rising fee on GHG emissions, with full dividend and border adjustments, will position the US to lead a global response to climate change.


 Democratic Finance: Energy Of the People, By the People, For the People / Job Taminiau (USA, Netherlands, Pakistan)

Judges' & Popular Choice - U.S. Federal Agencies Contest

A people-funded green energy revolution that reconnects people to energy and repositions the US as a global leader


Session Experts

Josh Freed, Vice President of Clean Energy, Third Way

Curt Spalding, Adminstrator, New England Region, US Environmental Protection Agency

Katia Vladimirova, Visiting Research Fellow at Boston University and Climate CoLab Fellow (moderator)


International Policy
Coffeehouse Lounge, 3rd floor, Stratton Student Center

 Global 4C: Managing Land for Carbon Sequestration with Smart Money / Delton Chen (USA)  Presenting virtually

Judges' Choice - Land Use: Agriculture, Livestock & Forestry Contest
Global 4C advocates a new source of global finance that can reward the bio-sequestration of carbon and the protection of biodiversity.


 Carbon-Free, Fast /  Dennis Peterson (USA)

Judges' and Popular Choice - Global Plan Contest
An aggressive approach that doesn't break the bank


 Settle the carbon debt and release the power of example! /  Jan Kunnas (Finland)  Presenting virtually

I suggest how to leave the dispute about historical responsibility for climate change behind and unleash the power of example. | See their story


 Sno-Caps: The People's Cap-And-Trade /  James D'Angelo (USA)

Judges' Choice - U.S. Carbon Price Contest

Employing a new form of scalable regulation, we can launch a global cap-and-trade today that sidesteps politics and incentivizes the masses. | See their story


Session Experts

John Reilly, Senior Lecturer and Co-Director, MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change

Eric Maltzer, former Foreign Affairs Officer in the US State Department's Office of Global Change

Bob Halperin, Research Affiliate, MIT Center for Collective Intelligence (moderator)


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Community-Based Efforts / Reshaping Attitudes

Friday morning, 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM

Inspiring Community Action
20 Chimneys, 3rd floor, Stratton Student Center

 Indicators for Sustainability /  Marina Mansilla Hermann, TierraVida (Argentina)  Presenting Virtually
Popular Choice - Youth Action on Climate Change Contest
Building a youth-led citizen movement to address climate change from the bottom-up

 Climate Change is Elementary: Huge Green Fundraiser for Schools / Dave Finnigan (USA)

Judges' Choice - Youth Action on Climate Change Contest

Kids promote the program. Vendors selling green products automatically give discounts to parents and rebates to PTAs for family purchases.


 Synergies of Reforestation & Community Empowerment in Kenya /  Tobias Lohse, Kijan (Kenya)

Judges' Choice - Land Use: Agriculture, Livestock & Forestry Contest

Reforestation as convergence of climate change mitigation and adaptation with socioeconomic well-being and ecological restoration.


Session Experts

Stephanie Gray, President, Massachusetts Parent Teachers Association
Rusty Russell, Lecturer, Environmental Law, Tufts University

Salem Afeworki, Sustainability Consultant at Jacobs & Climate CoLab Fellow (moderator)



Information during Climate Crises

Coffeehouse Lounge, 3rd floor, Stratton Student Center

 "Save the Baby" Global Data Commons for Baby Care /  Chika Kuroda (Japan)
Judges' Choice  - Crowdsourcing for Disaster Risk Management Contest
Save the Baby: Global Data Commons created by digitized maternal and infant health record for disaster risk management

 We Are Ready (WAR) /  Pooran Prasad Rajanna (India, Vietnam)
Popular Choice - Crowdsourcing for Disaster Risk Management Contest

We Are Ready is a platform to crowd source disaster info, send disaster alerts, plan evacuation, track people & identify medical needs


Session Experts

Lalana Kagal, Principal Research Scientist, MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

Nigel Jacob, Co-Founder, New Urban Mechanics at the City of Boston

Michaël Houle, Climate CoLab Fellow (moderator)


Telling the Climate Story
Mezzanine, 3rd floor, Stratton Student Center

 A collaborative solutions communication platform /  Anne-Marie Soulsby (Tanzania)

Judges' Choice - Communicating Coastal Risk and Resilience Contest

Solutions platform users collaboratively share adaptations to improve livelihoods & increase coastal Tanzanian's climate change resilience.


 Visualizing climate-changed futures with serious play /  Ken Eklund, FutureCoast (USA)

Judges' Choice - Shifting Behavior for a Changing Climate Contest

FutureCoast: a fun storymaking game with voicemails leaked from climate-changed futures. They appear in our time as mysterious "chronofacts"


 The world according to CLIVE (CoastaL Impact Visualization Environment) /  Adam Fenech (Canada)

Popular Choice - Communicating Coastal Risk and Resilience Contest

CLIVE allows citizens to visualize 3D sea-level rise and storm surge scenarios at local community scales using past data and IPCC models


 Make Our Economic Reasoning Consistent with Intergenerational Justice /  Timothy Damon (USA)

Judges' Special Commendation - Youth Action on Climate Change
Empower youth to advocate for a just valuation of their future in the economics of climate change, thus unlocking ambitious climate action


Session Experts

Rebecca Newhall, Coastal Management Specialist, Coastal Program Office, US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Gary Langham, Vice President and Chief Scientist, National Audubon Society
Catherine D'Ignazio, Research Assistant, MIT Media Lab's Center for Civic Media

Shawn Hesse, architect, emersion DESIGN & Climate CoLab Fellow (moderator)

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