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Basic Challenges

A key principle behind the Climate CoLab is breaking down the large, complex problem of climate change into a series of more focused sub-problems. Climate CoLab’s 65 basic challenges each address a particular sub problem. For more on how basic challenges were selected, see Why these contests?

ChallengeProblem descriptionDateEntries
Adaptation 2018What initiatives, policies, and technologies can help prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change?201842
Buildings 2018What initiatives, policies, and technologies can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the buildings sector?201827
Carbon Pricing 2018What initiatives, policies, and strategies can advance carbon pricing?201822
Energy Supply 2018What initiatives, policies, and technologies can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector?201835
Land Use: Agriculture, Forestry, Waste Management 2018What initiatives, policies, and technologies can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from land use change and waste?201853
Shifting Attitudes and Behaviors 2018What initiatives and strategies can mobilize individuals and societies to shift attitudes & behaviors to address climate change?201869
Transportation 2018What initiatives, policies, and technologies can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector?201832
Adaptation 2016What can be done to prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change?201629
Aviation 2016How can we design, operate, and power aircraft to reduce the climate impacts of aviation?201611
Buildings 2016What initiatives, policies and technologies can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the building sector?201633
Energy Supply 2016What initiatives, policies and technologies can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector?201640
Energy Water Nexus 2016What actions can address interdependent water-energy challenges, and drive us toward a secure water and energy future?201621
Industry 2016How can industry innovate to meet the challenges of sustaining a healthy climate while meeting societal demands for goods and services?201611
Land Use: Agriculture, Forestry, Livestock 2016How can we scale-up sustainable landscape management to significantly reduce GHG emissions while ensuring food, water, and energy security?201660
Shifting Behavior for a Changing Climate 2016How can we mobilize individuals and society to shift behaviors in order to address climate change?201692
The Smart Zero Carbon Cities Challenge 2016How can smart technologies drive a rapid transition to zero-carbon cities?201616
Transportation 2016What initiatives, policies and technologies can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector?201628
Waste Management 2016What initiatives, policies and technologies can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from waste and waste management?201630
Adaptation 2015What can be done to prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change?201530
Buildings 2015What initiatives, policies and technologies can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the building sector?201513
Energy Supply 2015What initiatives, policies and technologies can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation?201529
Energy-Water Nexus 2015What immediate actions can we take to address energy-water nexus challenges?201516
Industry 2015How can industry innovate to meet the climate challenge and drive sustainable growth?20159
Land Use: Agriculture, Forestry, Livestock 2015How can we scale-up sustainable landscape management to significantly reduce GHG emissions while ensuring food, water, and energy security?201532
Rural resilience 2015What actions can rural communities take to increase their resilience to climate change?201519
Shifting Attitudes & Behavior 2015How can we shift perceptions, values, norms, and attitudes about climate change?201571
Transportation 2015What initiatives, policies and technologies can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector?201521
U.S. Carbon Price 2015How could a national price on carbon be implemented in the United States?201516
Urban Energy Efficiency 2015How do we leverage innovation in hardware, software and business models to increase urban energy efficiency?201523
Waste Management 2015What initiatives, policies and technologies can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from waste and waste management?201523
Adaptation to Climate Change 2014What can be done to adapt to the impacts of climate change?201429
Buildings 2014How can we increase building energy efficiency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?201429
Consumption of Products & Services 2014How can we reduce consumption of goods and services that, by their manufacture or use, emit greenhouse gases?201427
Crowdsourcing for Disaster Risk Management 2014How can crowdsourcing provide more efficient disaster risk management?201412
Energy Supply 2014How can GHG emissions from the electricity sector be minimized?201435
Geoengineering 2014How can research into geoengineering be governed to limit its environmental and political risks?201418
Industry 2014How can industry innovate to meet the climate challenge and drive sustainable growth?201415
Land Use: Agriculture, Livestock & Forestry 2014How can we scale-up sustainable landscape management to reduce GHG emissions while ensuring food, water, and energy security?201423
Shifting behavior for a changing climate 2014How can we shift perceptions, values, norms, and attitudes to inspire individuals and institutions to take action on climate change?201453
Transportation 2014How can CO2 emissions from the transportation sector be reduced?201445
U.S. Carbon Price 2014How could a national price on carbon be implemented in the United States?201429
Waste Management 2014How can emissions from waste be reduced?201416
Adaptation and Civil Society Groups 2013What role will civil society actors play in climate adaptation?201315
Agriculture and forestry 2013Which activities can best reduce climate impacts and enhance resilient adaptation to climate change in agriculture and forestry?201327
Building efficiency 2013How can greenhouse gas emissions from buildings be reduced?201318
Climate friendly diet 2013How should we eat given the risks of climate change?20131
Electric power sector 2013What can be done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions attributable to the electric power sector?201329
Enabling adaptation 2013How can businesses, governments, and individuals coordinate to ensure the implementation of effective domestic and international strategies to prepare for the effects of climate change?201314
Fossil fuel sector 2013What are some ways to create step-change improvements in the GHG emissions associated with the production of fossil fuels?20135
Geoengineering 2013What climate-engineering initiatives might be feasible, especially to avoid methane feedbacks caused by global warming?201333
Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) 2013What can be done to measure, monitor and reduce the climate impacts of increased oil and gas production spurred by hydraulic fracturing (fracking)?201315
Industrial efficiency 2013How can greenhouse gas emissions from the industrial sector be reduced?201310
Local solutions 2013What can be done at the local level to address climate change?201339
MIT Sloan Innovation Period Class, 2013What actions should be taken to address climate change?20132
Profitably reducing emissions from cement 2013What can be done to reduce GHG emissions in the cement industry profitably?201312
Reducing consumption 2013How can we reduce consumption of greenhouse-emitting goods and services?201323
Replacing diesel generation 2013What actions and/or policies can encourage large-scale deployment of commercially viable renewable energy sources to replace stationary diesel generators?20136
Scaling renewables in major emerging economies 2013How can renewable technologies be rapidly deployed in the major emerging economies?20139
Shifting cultures for a changing climate 2013What can be done to shift cultural attitudes on climate change to inspire action?201338
Transportation efficiency 2013How can CO2 emissions from the world's transportation be reduced?201341
Urban adaptation: Climate resilient cities 2013How can cities become more resilient to the challenges brought on by climate change?201316
Waste management 2013How can emissions from waste disposal be reduced?201320
Contest 2010 Follow-Up 2010How can the Climate CoLab 2010 finalists be improved?201011
Inernational Climate Agreement 2010What international climate agreements should the world community make?20104
UNFCC plan 2009What plan should be adopted at the UN climate talks?200920