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Please find below the judging results for your proposal.

Finalist Evaluation

Judges'' ratings


Judges'' comments

Your proposal has been selected as a Finalist!

Congratulations! Your proposal, Stopping Unstoppable Sea Level Rise, in the Adaptation contest, has been selected to advance to the Finalists round.

Be proud of your accomplishment – more than 350 proposals were submitted and only a very small number have been advanced through these two rounds of judging.

As a Finalist, your proposal is eligible for the contest’s Judges Choice award, as well as the contest’s Popular Choice award, which is determined by public voting.

If you haven’t already, you will soon receive an email from the Climate CoLab staff with details about the voting period. If you don’t receive that email within the next day, or have other questions, please contact the Climate CoLab staff at

All winners will be announced the week after the voting period ends, on September 12, 2015 at midnight Eastern Time.

Both Judges Choice and Popular Choice will receive a special invitation to attend selected sessions at MIT’s SOLVE conference and present their proposals before key constituents in a workshop the next day, where a $10,000 Grand Prize will be awarded. A few select Climate CoLab winners will join distinguished SOLVE attendees in a highly collaborative problem-solving session. Some contests have additional prizes given by the contest sponsor.

Thank you for your work on this very important issue. We’re proud of your proposal, and we hope that you are too. Again, congratulations!

2015 Climate CoLab Judges

Additional comments from the Judges:

This is an interesting proposal, and the authors have clearly responded to some of the earlier feedback provided by the judges.

Clearly though, the ambitious nature of this project requires a serious strategy for how it might be implemented. I would have liked to see some discussion of: potential partners, funders, and legal/jurisdictional considerations. Without addressing these issues I left wondering how exactly the project team plans of implementing their project. For such a complex project, this is an important step that seems to have been completely overlooked.

A big idea with potential for really big results. I think the main challenge for this project is jumping from concept (it works on paper) to 4 billion in funding. As the authors point out, the costs of sea level rise are much larger. The problem is the costs to the world and funding a solution are not directly linked.

The authors have started to build in more of a progression in the timeline, which is helpful. A more fleshed out progression in the proposal might be helpful in the funding phase.

The discussion with the glacialogist was helpful and suggests that a team of internationally renowned experts as a panel to advise on every stage of the project would also be helpful both in project design and reassuring funders.

A consideration for a phased approach might be: fully designed concept paper (possibly including simulations), a more easily accessed glacier to put the theory into practice (prove this can work in the real world), then moving to Pine Island for implementation.

The authors argue that we need to get going immediately because of the fast moving nature of the problem. The problem is understood. The question is will the proposed solution work and who will pay for it. Imagine if every part of the solution was working well in a pilot site in an accessible location. I think there might be a good chance to attract the scale of funding needed for Pine Island if that were true.

Semi-Finalist Evaluation

Judges'' ratings


Judges'' comments

SUBJECT: Your proposal has been selected as a Semi-Finalist!

Congratulations! Your proposal, Stopping Unstoppable Sea Level Rise in the Adaptation contest, has been selected to advance to the Semi-Finalists round.

You will be able to revise your proposal and add new collaborators if you wish, from July 1st until July 14, 2015 at 23:59pm Eastern Time.

Judges' feedback are posted under the "Evaluation" tab of your proposal. Please incorporate this feedback in your revisions, or your proposal may not be advanced to the Finalists round. We ask you to also summarize the changes that you made in the comment section of the Evaluation tab.

At the revision deadline listed below, your proposal will be locked and considered in final form. The Judges will undergo another round of evaluation to ensure that Semi-Finalist proposals have addressed the feedback given, and select which proposals will continue to the Finalists round. Finalists are eligible for the contest’s Judges Choice award, as well as for public voting to select the contest’s Popular Choice award.

Thank you for your great work and again, congratulations!

2015 Climate CoLab Judges - further comments

Very interesting idea. The need is clear and this is an intriguing plan for a solution to a big problem.

The proposal's main short-coming is that it does not address risks or any potential unintended consequences of the proposed project on either the environment or to glacier behavior in general, including the rate of glacial melt. In addition the dynamic nature of the proposed pilot glacier raises questions concerning the longevity of the injection wells.

We appreciate that the authors propose a pilot to figure out the details. However, we are concerned that the very large costs - even for a pilot - will prove prohibitive. We wonder if there might be a place closer to infrastructure to prove the field feasibility, measured impacts, and costs?

Worthy of further development. We advice the authors to seek feedback from experts in the region, wherever a pilot might take place.

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Thomas Manaugh

Jul 13, 2015


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Thank you for your feedback and suggestions. We were able, via email, to contact Dr. Roger Hooke, an expert glaciologist. Our exchange of emails with him is posted in the comments section of this proposal ( ). We greatly appreciate his graciously taking time to review our proposal . Dr. Hooke is a Retired Research Professor at the Climate Change Institute and the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Maine, Orono. Most of his work has been in the field of glacial geology and glaciology conducting research in the Canadian Arctic and Northern Sweden. He has authored several papers and books, including "Principles of Glacier Mechanics." Here is a link to read more about Dr. Hooke: . Dr. Hooke's comments did not lead us to make any major changes. He expressed two concerns that might impact the cost of the project but would not affect the feasibility of the project. Because well-known technologies are proposed for the project, feasibility for the success of the project is more dependent on recognition by political leaders of a need to take steps toward slowing sea level rise than technical barriers. First, Dr. Hooke noted "[t]he flow of Pine Island glacier is up to 4 km/yr, which would make maintaining an open borehole somewhat problematic, and would require redrilling every few years to keep the flow of cooled water in the place where it would do most good." That is a statement to which we agree. The substantial budget we proposed would allow for re-drilling as needed. Second, Dr. Hooke would "like to see some calculations (at least back-of-the-envelope type) to show how much water would have to be pumped to achieve the effect you desire." We provided Dr. Hooke with the kind of calculation he requested. We also changed our proposal to include modeling and simulation during Year One. That change is designed to provide a better estimate than the "back-of-the-envelope" estimate we calculated in response to Dr. Hooke's request. Because of the novelty of our project, modeling and simulation will greatly help (a) guide implementation of the actions we have proposed so as to make implementation go smoothly and (b) anticipate any negative consequences. One unknown is the extent to which drawing seawater out of the ocean will affect marine life. Anticipating that such could happen, we invented and applied for a provisional patent on a novel device that can be used to suck water from the ocean with minimal entrainment of small fish, larvae, and eggs. That provisional patent application will be disclosed to judges upon request. Also, we have changed the time line slightly to include a field study during Year Two, possibly in Alaska or northern Canada. The field study will allow an opportunity to test equipment and procedures that will be used in Antarctica during subsequent years. We anticipate that changes will occur in the natural progression of the Pine Island Glacier in its seaward movement. Indeed, that is the goal of the project. That progression has sped up significantly in recent years. If we are able to slow the progression down, that should be seen as an attempt to bring the glacier back into a more normal relationship to its environment rather than an unwelcome tinkering with a benign natural process. There is certainly nothing benign about glacier-melting causing cities and coastal areas around the world to become inundated by seawater. We very consciously chose Pine Island Glacier to be the subject of our project. It is known to be "ground zero" for concerns about collapse of glaciers and subsequent sea level rise. Any other glacier would be less convincing a subject for our study. Positive results from a successful intervention on Pine Island Glacier's collapse would astound scientists and engineers who have declared its collapse as unstoppable. Positive results from our project on Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier will not be ignored or minimized. Even skeptics of climate change and its effects (those whose messages engender fatalistic attitudes and apathy) will be forced to refocus their negative arguments. Those who understand the ominous threats posed by climate change will be heartened that humanity will be able to control climate-changing greenhouse gases and will be able to take practical steps to avoid catastrophic rise in sea level while concentrations of greenhouse gases return to less dangerous levels. The audacity of implementing this novel, big-budget project has a good chance of being rewarded with a much-needed rise in people's hopes and expectations about the worth of taking steps to confront climate change. Because of glacier-slipping, we expect we will need to re-drill holes in the ice to keep our injection wells well-positioned for pumping cooled seawater into strategic locations to slow glacier slipping. Re-drilling will increase the scope and cost of operations. We have planned for that contingency and other contingencies by specifying a large budget. That large budget offers us the ability to cover the costs for many unknowns and difficulties in working in a harsh and remote setting. The large budget of billions of dollars will only be justified in the minds of decision-makers if they come to believe that trillions of dollars will be lost if billions are not spent. We actually hope and expect to discover over the next several years that the project we have proposed and the kind of impact we hope it will achieve will be accomplished for far less expense than what we have proposed. That said, it would be wrong for us now to propose a budget that might be so small as to doom the project to failure before it can be launched. We hope CoLab judges will agree that now is the time for big, novel, and far-sighted proposals to be made. If we wait until audacious and expensive projects are easily recognized to be justified by crushing effects of climate change, we will probably have waited too long.