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Reducing consumption

Basics #

Question How can we reduce consumption of greenhouse gas-emitting goods and services?

Contest main page Submit proposals at

Deadline June 15, 2013, at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time

Rules All entrants must agree to the 2012-13 contest rules.

Prizes The contest winners will be invited to present their work at the Crowds and Climate Conference at MIT November 6-7, 2013, and at the event, a $10,000 Grand Prize will be awarded to one of the contest winners

Related contests Many universities sponsor energy-reduction contests

Guidelines from the contest Advisor(s) and Fellow(s) #

Opportunity/challenge #

Human consumption--of food, energy, and other goods and services--is tied to greenhouse emissions, which in turn drive climate change. Reducing consumption can thus mitigate climate change by limiting greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production of goods and services.

Consumption can be reduced in three primary ways:

Key issues #

Proposals are invited that address any strategy for reducing consumption, and they can focus on consumption overall or on a particular good or service. To guide your thinking, below is the list of categories of goods and services used the the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in calculating the Consumer Price Index (CPI):

There has been a considerable amount of work done by researchers on what mechanisms can lead people to consume less energy. Some of this research could serve as the basis for proposals on how to reduce energy consumption, and mechanisms developed to induce energy consumption could perhaps be applied to reduce consumption of other kinds of goods and services as well.

The Behavior and Energy Cluster at Stanford's Precourt Energy Efficiency Center has done some of the leading work on the human behavior around energy usage. The Foundational Readings link on its site provide a good overview of relevant research (see Resource section below).

Judges and contest-specific prizes #

The judges will be:

Byron Reeves, Stanford University

Karen Erhardt-Martinez, Garrison Institute

References #