Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, announced on New Year’s Eve to soon launch a multi-million-pound environmental prize to tackle the climate crisis. He thus aimed at dispelling pessimism over the climate crisis and encouraging replacing it with action that can repair the planet.
The Earthshot Prize, the multi-million-pound award, has been in the works for over a year as per the Kensington Palace, which shared a video on Instagram. Every year five winners will be given the prize for the next 10 years, starting in 2021. The goal is to help provide the world with at least 50 viable solutions to the most significant problems of the planet by 2030. The award contains a monetary prize of an undisclosed amount, which has been described as being millions of dollars.
“Just as the moonshot that John F. Kennedy proposed in the 1960s catalysed new technology such as the MRI scanner and satellite dishes, we want our Earthshot challenges to create a new wave of ambition and innovation around finding ways to help save the planet,” the Earthshot Prize website reads.
“We face a stark choice: Either we continue as we are and irreparably damage our planet or we remember our unique power as human beings and our continual ability to lead, innovate and problem-solve,” Prince William said in a statement, pointing to other historic human feats, such as putting a man on the moon.
The prize was inspired by the “moonshots” concept. Since the 1969 moon landing, it has become shorthand for ambitious, ground-breaking scientific advancements.
“The next ten years presents us with one of our greatest tests — a decade of change to repair the Earth,” the duke said.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has laid a rapid time frame in 2018. The new award comes as the world’s leading climate scientists warned the governments worldwide to make “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” to avoid devastating levels of global warming, in their report released in September.
“This report highlights the urgency of timely, ambitious, coordinated, and enduring action. What’s at stake is the health of ecosystems, wildlife, and importantly the world we leave our children,” said Ko Barrett, vice chairwoman of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and deputy assistant administrator for research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA).
Unless changes take place speedily, the planet will reach the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by as early as 2030. In that case, there will be a risk of extreme drought, floods, wildfires, severe and frequent storms, and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people. Some ice melt may be irreversible along with an alarming rise in sea level, the IPCC warned.
The new initiative of Prince William aims to refocus global attention on finding answers to the existential problem of reducing global emissions within that time frame, and also tackling issues including air pollution, ocean, freshwater, and biodiversity.
This prize will reward progress across all sectors of industry and society. The duke hopes to spark a global movement of finding new solutions to environmental challenges by encouraging governments, businesses as well as communities.
Apart from a substantial monetary award, winners will also get widespread public recognition and acknowledgment for their work for helping to bring concepts to scale.
“The spirit of the Moonshot can guide us today as we confront the serious challenges we face on earth,” he said. “This year, Prince William and a global alliance launch the most prestigious Environment Prize in history … A global prize designed to motivate and inspire a new generation of thinkers, leaders, and dreamers to think differently.”
The initiative will be formally launched by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2020, in which other members of the royal family are expected to be involved.
Prince Harry, Prince William’s brother, has also regularly spoken out on environmental issues. In September, he launched a global sustainable travel initiative, however, criticized over his own use of private jets.
According to a statement from Buckingham Palace, this project, called Travalyst, will work to encourage sustainable practices in the travel industry to improve conservation, environmental protection, and economic development of the community.