Friday, February 09, 2007

$25M green prize

Al Gore and Sir Richard Branson announced a $25 million US prize to a anyone that comes up with a way of extracting greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

There's nothing better than a challenge with a financial reward at the end of it. We saw this work with the Xprize Foundation and their $10 million prize to the first private manned spacecraft to exceed an altitude of 328,000 feet twice within the span of a 14 day period which was won by SpaceShipOne. Branson even compared this contest to a competition launched in 1675 to devise a method of estimating (the earth's) longitude accurately. It was 60 years before English clock maker John Harrison discovered an accurate method and received his prize from King George III.

This contest comes on the heels of a landmark report by the world’s leading climate scientists and government officials through the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that warned global warming will continue for centuries, creating a far different planet in 100 years.

The prize money will be awarded to anyone who develops technology capable of removing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases at the rate of one billion tons a year. Gore will be a member of a panel of judges that makes the award. The winner would receive $5 million once judges rule they have succeeded. The rest of the money will be paid out over a 10-year period if the judges decide the goal of removing significant amounts of greenhouses gases has been met over the long term.

Hopefully someone can solve this problem sooner than the 60 years that it took to come up with a method to estimate longitude accurately. If the abovementioned report is correct, we don't might not have that much time.

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