Decades of climate science have not resolved this issue. Can the Royal Family?


At Fenway on Friday, David Beckham, Mitt Romney and John Kerry walked the bright green carpet, not red, to meet Prince William and his foundation, where the five winners, who were judged to have come up with promising climate solutions, were awarded $1.2 million each. problem.

The winners are expected to use it to significantly scale up their projects and export them around the world. Beyond that, however, some now wonder whether the Earthshot prize, with royalty and Cold War-era invitations to race to the moon, could have the money and power to move the needle.

“A million dollars is important. It’s a game-changing investment for these nonprofits and companies,” said Justin Winters, chief executive of climate charity One Earth. “But I think in this case, the level of attention and partnership with the finalists and awardees is really important. I want to say.”

Winners and finalists have access to resources provided by Earthshot’s Global Alliance, a coalition of influential foundations and companies with deep pockets, including Bloomberg Philanthropies, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, IKEA and Microsoft. This resource includes everything from legal advice to manufacturing and supply chain services to business strategy. By 2030, the alliance hopes to develop 150 innovative climate solutions.

Australia-based For Living Seawalls, a finalist last year, has become a variable. Although the company was not an award winner, marine biologist and company founder Catherine Dufforn said Living Seawalls had raised more than A$1 million since the award was announced, three to four times that amount. make it safe before.

“You need performance and excitement to help people understand these issues around climate change and to show that there are these amazing innovators out there who are offering solutions that can be used around the world,” Dufforn said. Coming to Boston for the event, Living Seawalls is working with Boston-based Stone Living Lab on a new project in the harbor to help increase biodiversity and mitigate the effects of sea level rise.

At a ceremony on Friday evening, the award was presented to Mukuru Clean Stoves, a Kenya-based company that is replacing coal-burning household stoves with safe, clean-burning stoves; India’s Kheyti, which makes greenhouses to help small farmers protect their crops from extreme weather; Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Indigenous Women Using 60,000 Years of Indigenous Knowledge to Promote New Conservation Approaches; Notpla, a London-based company that makes plastic packaging from seaweed; and 44.01, in Oman, which pioneered a way to turn carbon dioxide into rock and store it indefinitely.

“I believe the Earthshot solutions you’ve seen this evening can address some of our planet’s greatest challenges. By supporting and expanding them, we can change the future,” Prince William told the crowd at the ceremony. I hope so.”

Historically, philanthropy has been slow to get behind climate change. In 2020, US-based grantmakers awarded $64 billion, but only 0.5 percent went directly to climate change, according to the company’s report. Sustainability at McKinsey.

Established in 2020 by Prince William and the Queen’s Foundation, the Earthshot Prize is part of a new generation of major cash prizes and funds to tackle climate change.

Elon Musk has $100 million XPRIZEIt will provide funding to companies competing for innovations that can remove carbon from the atmosphere until 2025. There’s $10 billion in pledges Bezos Global Foundation, by the end of the decade, will be spent on solutions to environmental justice, decarbonization, and conservation. And there it is 3.5 billion dollars Lauren Powell Jobs’ investment focused on initiatives and ideas to help disadvantaged communities cope with climate change.

But while these foundations come with the backing of big businesses or charities, the focus that comes with Prince William is the connections he can make with funders and affiliates, and why. How it gets everyday people into trouble.

“The climate is so complicated that sometimes people feel helpless,” said Mindy Lubber, CEO and president of Boston-based Ceres Group. “They can’t understand all the science. They don’t understand what 1.5 degrees is. But this is an opportunity for everyone to contribute to climate change in their own way.”

That means turning on the TV to see what the royal couple is doing in Boston, then making another decision about how to donate to climate change or how to invest a $2,000 IRA, Lubber said.

For scientists who have been working on this issue for years, it might be easy to suddenly get attention thanks to the royal couple. But Max Holmes, executive director of the Woodwell Climate Research Center in Falmouth, said this missed the point. “The reality is we’re not getting where we should be on climate action,” he said. “So anything that can bring additional attention, inspiration and creativity to this great problem is a good thing.”

With hundreds of fans lining up outside each appearance despite the rain and cold weather, the attention may be worth more than the prize, said Ben Downing, a former state senator and now The Engine’s vice president of public affairs. A company and startup program founded by MIT.

“People are busy with a million other things,” Downing said. “If they spend the most valuable resource they have, their time, thinking about climate, reading about a solution, maybe that will make them think, ‘What can I do,’ and push them a little bit more? I I think there’s a lot of value in that.”

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, who is trying to bring a Green New Deal to the city in her year in office with wide-ranging programs on climate, justice and equity, was especially welcome to have the royals in the spotlight.

“This is a real testament to the efforts of many people in our city—innovators and companies that are changing the world,” Wu said. This has led Boston to become America’s greenest city with clear goals and tangible progress.”


Sabrina Shankman can be contacted sabrina.shankman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @shankman.





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