Earlier this year, XPRIZE teamed up with the world’s second richest person, Elon Musk, to create the largest incentive prize in history in an attempt to combat humanities greatest and most pressing concern – climate change.
Through just a couple of generations, human-kind has dumped enough carbon into the atmosphere to shift millennia-old atmospheric processes at a rate which is truly unprecedented across geological time. Increasing concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases prevent solar radiation from being re-emitted back out to space, with the IPCC predicting as much as six degrees of global warming under the business-as-usual climate scenario by 2100. Warming of this magnitude would truly end the world as we know it, with an increasing frequency of droughts, heat waves, and extreme weather events alongside acidifying oceans and rising sea-levels, promising sweeping humanitarian crisis and biodiversity collapse.
What’s more, the effects of climate change are expected to have an exponentially large impact upon developing countries, pushing millions of people further into poverty and exacerbating pre-existing social inequities. With many developing countries greatly reliant upon climate vulnerable economic sectors such as agriculture, an increasing frequency of extreme weather events could drastically threaten food and livelihood security. Recent reports suggest that the climate crisis could displace as many as 1.2 billion people from their homes by 2050 – a figure twice the population of North America.
However, there still is hope. We are now aware of what we need to do to divert current climate trends. In the last few years, climate apathy has started to make way for climate action, with global warming finally beginning to make headway into the wider industrial, governmental, and public domain. We have seen almost one-third of the UK’s largest companies commit to net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, we saw US president Joe Biden make green energy a major pillar of his presidential campaign, and we have also seen millions of people through-out the world take to the streets for more urgent climate policy.
The XPRIZE Carbon Removal Challenge is aiming to harness this new wave of climate cognisance and tackle the climate crisis through the development of scalable carbon removal solutions. Being able to effectively remove carbon from our atmosphere would drastically help reduce the rate of current warming trends and give humanity a fighting chance of stopping global warming in its tracks.
Eager to learn more and get involved? Click here for more challenge information and start your climate innovation journey today.