Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Earth Challenge is an innovation incentive designed to award scalable and sustainable ways of removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

VEC launch

Launched in 2007 by Sir Richard Branson and his 5 fellow Judges, a challenge was laid down to the world to come up with ways of demonstrating ‘greenhouse gas removal’ activities that can take more greenhouse gases out of the air than they emit.

Often referred to as Carbon Dioxide Removal, Carbon Sequestration, Carbon Drawdown, or ‘Negative Emissions’, these proposed approaches look to work in conjunction with reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the first place – to help meet emissions reductions targets for a more stable climate and healthier oceans.

To show how seriously this notion is being considered, one of the biggest science and innovation prizes in history, the $25m Virgin Earth Prize, is offered as a reward.

It’s not an easy prize to win and our rules are accordingly demanding, but the potential benefits to the world are clear. A process capable of taking greenhouse gases out of the air, and keeping them out, on a meaningful scale would be a valuable tool in the battle against climate change.

That’s why we’re very excited about our finalists.