Virgin launches $25 million Earth Challenge

9 February 2007

On February 9th Sir Richard Branson and Al Gore announced the setting up of a new Global science and technology prize - The Virgin Earth Challenge - in the belief that history has shown that prizes of this nature encourage technological advancements for the good of mankind.

The Virgin Earth Challenge will award $25 million to the individual or group who are able to demonstrate a commercially viable design which will result in the net removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases each year for at least ten years without countervailing harmful effects. This removal must have long term effects and contribute materially to the stability of the Earth's climate.

Sir Richard also announced that he would be joined in the adjudication of the Prize by a panel of five judges - all world authorities in their respective fields: Al Gore, Sir Crispin Tickell, Tim Flannery, Jim Hansen and James Lovelock. The panel of judges will be assisted in their deliberations by Special Advisor to The Virgin Earth Prize Judges, Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group.

The Virgin Earth Challenge will initially be open for five years; the judges will meet annually to determine whether a design has been submitted during the previous year that in their view should win the prize and, if so, they may award the prize without waiting for the five year period to elapse. If no winner has been selected at the end of five years, the judges may decide to roll the prize forward for a further period on the same.

Steve Howard, The Climate Group's CEO, said: "For $25 million, people will do extraordinary things. It's to fire people up and say: 'let's do this'".

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