Airline tycoon Richard Branson announced a $25 million prize for the first person to come up with a way of scrubbing greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere in the battle to beat global warming.I like the idea of issuing a prize for this. Get some smart people competing for the cash and the presitige of winning. If such a device could be built it would be very valuable. I sure hope Klaus Lackner has heard about this.
The prize will initially only be open for five years, with ideas assessed by a panel of judges including Branson, Gore and Tickell as well as U.S. climate scientist James Hansen, Briton James Lovelock and Australian environmentalist Tim Flannery.
The winner will have to come up with a way of removing one billion metric tons of carbon gases a year from the atmosphere for 10 years -- with $5 million of the prize being paid at the start and the remaining $20 million at the end.
I wonder though if $25 mil isn't a little on the low side (and only $5 mil of that is upfront) given the potential impact of such a device. $5 million in VC money doesn't support a very large startup in Silicon Valley, so I don't see how that will be enough to attract a team of great minds to spend a lot of time tackling this problem.