The Virgin Earth Challenge

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The RealClimate blog reports this week on Richard Branson’s latest scheme — this time it’s saving the planet. If you take up the Virgin Earth Challenge, and develop “a commercially viable design which results in the removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases so as to contribute materially to the stability of Earth’s climate”, you stand to pocket a cool USD25 million. My first reaction was that this does require someone to come up with a way of countering the second law of thermodynamics which is a bit of brain-teaser to say the least. My second reaction was that this sounds like a classic case of greenwash, given Branson’s airlines are among the biggest contributors of GHG emissions. But maybe I shouldn’t be so cynical. Tim Flannery is on the panel of judges and he generally tows the ecologically-sound line. So is James Lovelock, but he has gone over to the ‘dark side’ of late since talking up the nuclear option.