Former Vice President Al Gore and Virgin Group Chairman Sir Richard Branson today announced the Virgin Earth Challenge, a $25 million global science and technology prize to encourage a technology that will remove at least one billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from the atmosphere per year.
The Virgin Earth Challenge will award $25 million to the individual or group who demonstrate a commercially viable design which will result in the net removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases each year for at least 10 years without countervailing harmful effects. This removal must have long term effects and contribute materially to the stability of the Earth's climate.
The timing of the announcement of the Virgin Earth Challenge follows the announcement last week by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that temperatures on Earth could increase by as much as 6.4 degrees C by the end of this century. If this were to occur, said Sir Richard, it would result in "most of life on our planet being exterminated."