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2011 contest rules

Contents of this page#


These are the rules for the 2011 Climate CoLab green economy contest. Please read these rules in full. You will be required to accept them when you enter.

The rules may be supplemented or revised by posting supplements or revisions to this page and by email notification to members of teams that are entered in the contest.

In Climate CoLab contests, people from all over the world are invited to work together in developing proposals for what humanity should do about global climate change.

What are the goals of the contest?#

The primary goals of the Climate CoLab contests are to:

The goals of this contest are not to advocate any particular position or point of view about global climate change. Instead, we hope to provide a neutral forum where the best ideas and information can be shared.

Who can participate?#

The contest is open to anyone in the world, regardless of age, nationality, or political viewpoint.

This contest, however, is void where prohibited by law. It is your responsibility to check with your local laws to make sure that this contest does not violate any applicable law or ordinance, and to make sure that you are eligible to participate.

If you are under 18 years old, you will need your parent or legal guardian to register on the Climate CoLab website and submit your entry for you.

You may submit projects that you have previously published or exhibited so long as they conform to the entry guidelines and the rules of this contest.

What does an entry in the contest contain?#

Contest entries consist of proposals that are created and submitted online in the Climate CoLab

For the 2011 contest, the proposals will focus on the question:
How should the 21st century economy evolve, bearing in mind the risks of climate change?

Members of the Climate CoLab community are invited to submit two kinds of proposals:

Global proposals should include:

Global proposals may also include:

National proposals should include:

In addition, contestants are encouraged but not required to include the following kinds of information in national proposals:

For more on the green economy theme that inspired the 2011 contest, see About the green economy.

How can I enter the contest?#

To enter, go to the Proposals tab and choose the kind of proposal you would like to create: global or national. Then select "Begin a new proposal."

To submit a proposal to the contest, you must select the button in the Admin tab of the proposal that says "The proposal is: An entry in the contest."

By submitting a Proposal, you are agreeing to these Rules and the Terms of Use.

If you created your Proposal with other individuals, all of the co-authors must sign up with the Climate CoLab website. All co-authors must be listed as members of your team, and all co-authors must understand and agree to the Terms of Use and these Rules.

The individual who initiates a proposal will be listed as the owner of that proposal in the team tab and will receive all official communications about the 2011 Contest. Team members can decide among themselves who will receive any travel funds that may be designated for their team should they win the contest. In cases where team members cannot agree among themselves, any travel funds will be allocated to the Owner of the proposal.

As set forth in the Terms of Use, all Proposals will be made available to third parties under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

If you do not list any Co-Authors of the work, you are representing that you are the sole author. If you do list Co-Authors of the work, you represent that you are not violating any Co-Author’s rights by entering the work, and that any Co-Authors have given you permission to submit the work.

What is the contest’s schedule?#

The contest will have four stages.

How do teams work?#

Individuals may create proposals by themselves, but participants are encouraged to form teams. For instance, a team might include different people with expertise in quantitative modeling, political analysis, writing, and artistic creation.

Anyone who wants to join the team creating a specific proposal can request to join that team. Then the current team members decide whether they want that person to join.

If they wish, a team can restrict the right to edit its proposal to team members only. Alternatively, a team may also let anyone who is interested edit its proposals. If anyone can edit, teams can get input from lots of people without the overhead of requiring everyone to join the team. Team members can easily undo any changes they don't like.

How can people show their support for a proposal before the final round?#

At any time during the preliminary round, a member of the CoLab can become a supporter of as many proposals as they want. This makes it easy for judges and other viewers to see which proposals are most popular at each stage of the contest.

How can users contribute new simulation models?#

All global proposals use the models currently included in the Climate CoLab; however, users are also encouraged to submit extensions to or alternatives for these models. To submit a new model, email it to

Models submitted by users will be reviewed by the Climate CoLab staff and expert advisors and, if appropriate, added to the site where all users can use them.

While it is technically possible to add many different kinds of models, the CoLab is designed to make it especially easy to add new models that are represented in spreadsheets.

Users are especially encouraged to submit new spreadsheet models to calculate the inputs to the current model using more basic inputs such as emission reductions by country and/or emission reductions resulting from changes in technology mix (such as coal, solar, wind, and nuclear). For more on this, see Models help.

How does the Climate CoLab community deal with different points of view?#

The Climate CoLab is an open forum where all points of view are welcome. At the same time, the community expects members to respect facts, evidence, and rational argument.

The community also expects its members to engage with each other respectfully and courteously. Failure to do this may, at the discretion of the contest organizers, result in individuals or teams being disqualified.

How will proposals be judged?#

Judges will be asked to evaluate proposals on the following criteria:

There are no explicit weightings for these three criteria, but judges will be asked to use all three to select proposals that are most likely to lead to useful outcomes of the contest overall. As a tie- breaker, judges may also use the popularity of a proposal, as indicated by the number of people who support it. For example, in cases where a number of proposals are similar, judges will try to pick one or two proposals to represent the whole group. In selecting these representative proposals, judges will take into account the quality of the proposal presentations and the number of people who support the proposals. To increase the diversity of ideas considered, judges may accept slightly lower levels of feasibility for proposals that include highly novel and interesting ideas.

In selecting proposals to move on to the voting round, judges will also be explicitly asked not to choose proposals based on their own personal preferences. In other words, judges are asked to use their expertise to judge the feasibility, novelty, and presentation quality of proposals, but not based on their perspective on what is desirable. For example, a judge should not reject a proposal that is technically, economically, and politically feasible, just because the judge feels that the proposal would lead to socially undesirable consequences.

In the final round, the judges will be asked to select the proposals they believe are most desirable. Thus, judgments of desirability are made only in the final stage of the contest, by the Climate CoLab community through popular vote and by the judges through their selection of the Judges’ Choice winners.

What are the prizes?#

At the conclusion of the contest, the winning teams and their plans will be featured on the home page of the Climate CoLab and in a press release from MIT.

The Climate CoLab team will support travel by at least one representative from each winning team to one or more of the briefings planned with policy makers. For instance, last year's contest included briefings at the United Nations and the United States Congress. If needed, translation services will also be provided.

The contest winners will also be featured on TreeHugger, the online sustainability site.

How will the results of the contest influence policy?#

The Climate CoLab team is arranging briefings for relevant policy-makers about the results of the contest, including the winning teams and plans, such as on Capitol Hill and at the United Nations. Events confirmed include: