Could your idea tip the climate change balance?

Image: Tiero, AdobeStock

Submit your 'runaway solution' to global warming for a chance to win €1000 and pitch your winning idea to a team at the University of Oxford.

The world isn't moving fast enough to stop global warming. In 2019 emissions were 4% higher than when the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015. In the face of national targets being missed, just 1 in 10 energy companies planning for decarbonisation, and growing ecological disasters it can feel like no individual action can make a difference. But what if a small change could trigger outsized impacts?

Last year, researchers from the University of Oxford proposed a new approach to designing climate interventions that takes advantage of socio-economic and political tipping points. When a system is at a tipping point, a relatively small change can trigger a profound impact. Think about a loud noise setting off an avalanche, or a lone Swedish schoolgirl inspiring climate strikes around the world. Identifying these 'sensitive intervention points' (SIPs) can lead to solutions with runaway positive impacts.

Potential SIPs identified by the Oxford team include investment in key clean energy technology like solar power, with its dramatically declining costs, and changes to rules around financial disclosure of climate risk for shareholders.

Now, Oxford researchers are looking for ideas from around the world to accelerate the transition towards net zero carbon emissions and decarbonise the global economy. To kick-off this challenge, they are offering a €1000 cash prize for best new proposed SIP, and the chance to pitch your winning idea.

"Solutions to the climate change crisis aren't going to come from the same thinking that got us into this mess. That's why we are taking this competition global," said Cameron Hepburn, Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. "We're looking for solutions that are simple but effective - and that bring a new perspective that we haven't thought of before."

SIPs must be able to be triggered in the near future; make use of systems that are "ripe for change"; and have self-reinforcing feedbacks that can generate accelerating change at scale. In other words, they are relatively small actions that might be taken in any aspect of our lives that have the potential to generate a large reduction in global emissions.

To enter and for further details visit:

Cameron Hepburn's TEDx Talk explaining SIPs and the competition is available to watch online: