The Oscars for Climate Action

Like them or not, television award programmes such as the Oscars, BAFTAs and Grammys are immensely popular. The release of nominees alone generates much speculation, eventually culminating in a public spectacle full of celebrities and star-studded performances. What if instead of only recognising artistic milestones in events like this, we also celebrated climate action achievements in a similar fashion?

A live annual televised awards programme for climate leadership would leverage existing climate engagement by an array of celebrities and renowned artists, as well as public interest in them, to drive climate action. For instance, a diverse, independent panel could identify financial institutions and companies leading the way in efforts to net-zero; pioneering government officials; inspiring climate activists; groundbreaking climate artists, science communicators and community leaders; pivotal scientific findings; and breakthrough technological achievements. The announcement of the awards, led by a comedic host, would be paired with celebrity speeches (e.g. Leonardo DiCaprio) and performances from popular, climate-engaged musical artists (e.g., Billie Eilish, Justin Timberlake, The 1975).

The event could generate powerful feedbacks: it would catalyse competition between actors to earn a nomination, while also sparking increased public conversation about climate action. If the awards successfully attracted widespread publicity, more actors would be incentivised to increase their efforts for the following year, in turn pushing greater viewership. There are of course challenges such as setting award criteria, ensuring diverse representation and emissions associated with the event itself, but it need not to be invented from scratch; it can mirror existing awards programmes and generate advertising revenue to cover costs. Entertainment industry professionals could advise on the feasibility and scope.

A star-studded, televised awards programme celebrating climate action would be a relatively simple, fun, cross-sectoral and public-facing action with impacts that could reverberate around the world.




Trigger (intervention)




Feedback Dynamics


Timescale and scaleability





Josh Ettinger

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