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Prince William launches “Nobel prize for environment” with £50m Earthshot fund

The Duke of Cambridge will today launch the most prestigious global environment prize in history.

William hopes the new global competition for the environment will incentivise change and help to repair our planet over the next ten years – a critical decade for the Earth.

The competition will offer five, one million-pound prizes to be awarded each year for the next 10 years, providing at least 50 solutions to the world’s greatest environmental problems by 2030.

Royal sources said the Duke is “taking the mantle from his father and grandfather to become a global leader on the world stage on the world’s biggest environmental issues”.

During his time in Namibia, Kenya, and Tanzania tackling conservation issues and illegal wildlife trade he was inspired to explore permanent solutions to global environmental challenges.

Following a conversation with Sir David Attenborough in London, the famed activist and royal discussed an idea to create a prize that will not only incentivize the global effort to protect and restore the environment, but also help repair the planet by 2030.

Taking inspiration from President John F. Kennedy’s Moonshot which united millions of people around an organising goal to put man on the moon, The Earthshot Prize is centred around five ‘Earthshots’ – which if achieved by 2030 “will improve life for us all, for generations to come”.

A source said “the Duke wanted something that would gain the prestige of the Nobel Prize.

“He didn’t want to duplicate the efforts of others, but after [researching the landscape] they couldn’t find something that met the same criteria … where winners from every sector—be it a scientific team or a 12-year-old in a classroom in Kenya—are possible.”

The Earthshot Prize takes its inspiration from the Apollo moon landings, nicknamed Moonshot, which helped advance mankind’s technological achievements, and features five Earthshots which organisers say if achieved by 2030 would improve life for all.

In an interview alongside Sir David Attenborough, which will be broadcast later on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, William will say: “I felt very much that there’s a lot of people wanting to do many good things for the environment and what they need is a bit of a catalyst, a bit of hope, a bit of positivity that we can actually fix what’s being presented. And I think that urgency with optimism really creates action.

“And so the Earthshot Prize is really about harnessing that optimism and that urgency to find solutions to some of the world’s greatest environmental problems.

“We believe that this decade is one of the most crucial decades for the environment and by 2030 we really hope to have made huge strides in fixing some of the biggest problems the Earth faces.”

The five Earthshots unveiled today are:
Protect and restore nature
Clean our air
Revive our oceans
Build a waste-free world
Fix our climate
Big philanthropic corporations including the Aga Khan Development Network, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Dubai EXPO 2020 and The Jack Ma Foundation are putting up the money to be won as prizes.

Nominations to open on 1st November 2020.

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