I Win $25 Million!!

Via Volokh:

Richard Branson is offering a $25 million prize for the development of a technology capable of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

I Win!


OK, I get that he is actually looking for some solar-powered device that plates out carbon from the air on a cathode, or whatever.  Or maybe a big nuclear-powered Air Products plant pumping liquid CO2 down an old oil well. 

By the way, I wonder if it will occur to anyone that if you really want to offset carbon, you probably need to clear cut old growth forests, bury the logs, and plant new trees.  I would guess that a newly growing forest absorbs a lot more CO2 than old-growth redwoods (anyone know?)  And no, I am not really suggesting it.  I got in enough email hot water a year ago when I suggested that if global warming was really to become a problem, we could reverse it pretty quickly with about 30 man-made Krakatoa's, made from the creative use of some of those H-bombs still lying around.  Maybe we could even use them to dig a new canal across Nicaragua, killing two birds with one stone.

Anyway, I like Branson's idea.  This kind of price approach has yielded some interesting results in other fields.


  1. Jody:

    A thought along those lines:

    I've thought about setting up a carbon credit company. Basically, the company would own a lot of forest land and would cut down and bury a number of trees equal to the weight of the requested carbon credit. Then to keep the company profitable, the company would plant new trees.

    Rather than burying these trees immediately, we could ship them all over the US each December where people would buy the trees to celebrate Carbon Sequestration Day (aka Christmas).

  2. Jody:

    While I'm throwing out border-line legal business models, here's a great model for sticking it to campaign finance laws and making some cash in the process.

    The company hosts a website that lists all candidates for all elected offices. You pick your candidate and specify the amount you wish to donate and paypal (or whatever) the amount to the company (presumably more than the campaign finance limit).

    The company then presents you with a list of current candidate pools in which to participate based on donation amount & the candidate. Alternately, you can form your own candidate pool with suggestions based on special interest group ratings (e.g., NRA, NOW, whatever, the company is politically agnostic). The company holds onto your money until enough people have contributed to your selected candidate pool to make the donations.

    For instance, suppose you want to donate $8k to Obama (4x the amount for one person). You could join a pool with Kucinich, Nader, and Edwards (for example, some may not want to do it that way and might prefer state candidates instead) and once 3 others have joined and paid into your pool, then $8k would be transferred to each of the candidates. If for whatever reason, partners aren't found within a certain time, the money is returned. However, in either case, the company keeps the interest (or alternately charges a small fee).

    The company might have to be formed as a PAC (People for More Money in Elections) and would almost necessarily be taken to court by the FEC, but I think its legal.

  3. TCO:

    We need a second canal site...

  4. Richard Nikoley:

    I've heard that, per acre, grass does even a better job than trees. Thus, we simply need more golf courses.

  5. none:

    You know what's better than grass, is usable for a variety of products like clothing, and grows like, well, a weed? You know what's coming-- I hate to say it, but...