History and Philosophy


Summer 2022
Climate Colab migrates to Wazoku’s software platform, and members of its community are invited to join InnoCentive’s solver community. This migration will bring Climate CoLab’s 120,000 members together with InnoCentive’s 500,000+ solver community to achieve greater scale in addressing the climate challenges of the future.

Fall 2018
Winners from 2017 and 2018 invited to MIT to present their solutions at three different events and $10,000 grand prize awarded. 

Spring 2017
New contests launched for 2017 and 2018.

Fall 2016
Crowds & Climate: Climate CoLab Conference held at MIT and $10,000 grand prize awarded. 

Spring 2016
New contests launched for 2016.

Fall 2015
Crowds & Climate: Climate CoLab Conference held and $10,000 grand prize awarded.

Spring 2015
New type of contest launched, Regional Climate Action Plans for US, Europe, China, India, Other Developed Countries, and Other Developing Countries.

Fall 2015
Crowds & Climate: From Ideas to Action conference held and $10,000 grand prize awarded.

Winter 2013-14
New contests launched for 2014, including Global contest, which invited integrated proposals that bring together multiple ideas from other contests into a coherent plan for the world as a whole.   

Fall 2013
Conference held and $10,000 grand prize awarded for best overall entry.

Winter 2011-12
Winners of the 2011 contest present their proposals in briefings at the United Nations and U.S. Congress.

Spring 2011
Second large-scale contest launched asking members to consider the question, “How should the 21st century economy evolve bearing in mind the risks of climate change?”

Fall 2010
First large-scale contest is launched with the winners presenting their proposals at the U.N. and the US Congress.

September 2009
Inaugural moderators join the CoLab community and the system is launched. A White Paper is sent to the U.N. based on the outcomes of the 2009 CoLab contest.

Spring 2009
Initial prototype of a system that combines modeling, large scale argumentation, and voting is tested with users.

Fall 2008
First prototype of the CoLab’s modeling functionality presented at a meeting of the Center for Collective Intelligence Executive Advisory Board.

Spring 2008
New York Times Climate Blog and the Nature Climate Blog report on the results of an early trial of the CoLab’s large scale argumentation system.

Summer 2007
Harnessing Collective Intelligence to Address Global Climate Change, by Thomas W. Malone and Mark Klein, appears in the MIT journal Innovations, and lays out a broad vision for the Climate Collaboratorium (the predecessor to Climate CoLab).


Since its inception, Climate CoLab operated under an explicitly articulated value statement:

We are committed to developing proposals for what humanity can do about climate change that

  • are consistent with the best expert knowledge currently available,
  • respect the needs and desires of people all over the world, now and in the future, and
  • can actually be achieved.

We are also committed to doing this while

  • welcoming unusual points of view and opinions with which we disagree,
  • respecting factual evidence and rational argument, and
  • treating each other with courtesy and respect.

Community members were encouraged to engage with each other based on following principles:

The Climate CoLab is open to everyone, not just scientists and policy makers. Everyone’s contributions, even a single vote or comment, helps in the collective work of figuring out what we should do about climate change.

Honest broker
The Climate CoLab is an open forum where all positions on the climate change issue are welcome. The CoLab community aspires to be an honest broker on this complex and controversial subject.

Scientific evidence and rational argument
At the same time, the community adheres to the principles of the scientific method. Positions which marshal facts, evidence, and rational argument will receive the attention of the community. Those which do not will be dismissed.

Respect and courtesy
The community expects its members to engage with each other respectfully and courteously. The community will seek to frame controversial issues in a way that is respectful to all sides in the debate and does not favor a particular perspective. Failure to act in a respectful and courteous way is grounds for loss of member privileges.