Elon Musk Will Give You P5 Billion. You Just Have to Do One Thing
Climate change and global warming is largely attributed to the rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Scientists around the world are pushing governments to implement laws that will reduce the amount of CO2 we produce. The failed Kyoto Protocol of 1997 and the Paris Accords of 2016 are attempts to regulate carbon emissions.
Another way to address climate change is not only to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also to capture carbon in the atmosphere and trap them in the earth. This process is called carbon capture and storage or CCS.
Right now, the best carbon capture technology on the planet is over 100 million years old. It involves taking a seed from a tree and planting it in the ground. According to Arbor Day Foundation, a mature tree pulls 48 pounds of carbon from the atmosphere in a year and stores the carbon in its fibers, trapping it there for generations.
The problem is nature cannot cope with how fast humans are producing CO2, and trees grow very slowly. In 2018 alone, the fossil fuel industry dumped 88 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere. That is why Elon Musk, recently recognized as the world’s richest person, wants to fasttrack the process. On Twitter, he announced he will give away $100 million (P4.8 billion) to anyone who can create the best carbon capture technology.
“I am donating $100 million toward a prize for the best carbon capture technology,” tweeted Musk.
Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 21, 2021
In a reply to his own tweet, he said he will post details about the prize next week
Among the world’s billionaires, Musk is at the forefront of fighting climate change, which has become the core purpose of his companies. It is the reason he bought Tesla, an electric car company, and also the reason he founded SpaceX (so we can move to another planet in case our climate change efforts prove futile).
Carbon capture and storage is becoming widely accepted as a promising way to fight climate change. The challenge in such an undertaking is making sure the tech does not emit any carbon or use any energy greater than the carbon it captures. It doesn’t even have to be a mechanical device. It could involve bioengineering trees to grow significantly faster or spraying compounds into the air that will bind with carbon and capture them in solid form. Whatever it is, Elon Musk wants it created ASAP.