People with expertise in the specific areas are called upon to provide guidance and help find judges. Finalists are chosen based on feasibility, novelty, potential impact on climate change and presentation. After a refining stage, the final proposals are voted upon by the community as well as expert judges. Entrants can get a Popular Choice Award or a Judges' Choice. Contest winners are then invited to present their ideas at the Crowds and Climate Conference at MIT attended by policymakers, business executives and investors, officials at non-profits and non-governmental organizations, and citizen groups.
"A contest appears to be a useful way of synchronizing people's activities," Malone told the Guardian. "By giving a deadline and a schedule of things to do, it's a way of motivating people to act together and to get something done."
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Taking such a comprehensive, collaborative effort to address climate change is well-timed. In the last few months, a handful of important reports have come out pointing to the dire state of Planet Earth. Last fall, for example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change put a number on the amount of carbon pollution Earth's atmosphere can support before it rises more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. And the same panel published "Climate Change 2013: The Physical Basis," the first of a series of reports on the topic.