Sydney, Australia (February 9, 2007)- British tycoon Sir Richard Branson announced a $25 million prize for the scientist who comes up with a way of extracting greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The Virgin Group chairman was joined by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and other leading environmentalists as he announced the challenge to find the world’s first viable design to capture and remove carbon dioxide from the air.
A panel of judges will oversee the prize, including James Hansen, the noted climate scientist and head of the NASA Institute for Space Studies; the inventor of Gaia theory James Lovelock; UK environmentalist Sir Crispin Tickell; the Australian mammalogist and palaeontologist Tim Flannery; and former Vice President Al Gore.
They are looking for a method that will remove at least one billion tonnes of carbon per year from the atmosphere. The organizers of the Virgin Challenge said the winner would receive $5 million once judges rule they have succeeded. The rest of the money will be paid out over 10 years if the judges decide the goal of removing significant amounts of greenhouse gases has been met over the long term.
Sydney Morning Herald