Carbon Dioxide Emissions: Confronting The Culprit To Save the Planet

Carbon Dioxide Emissions: Confronting The Culprit To Save the Planet

This guest blog post is by Sam Champion, an award-winning journalist and host of The Weather Channel’s prime-time program, 23.5° with Sam Champion.

Carbon Dioxide to make skyscrapers, fuel, even cupcakes? Seeing these tangible, some may even say delicious, creations on the XPRIZE Foundation’s website, using CO2 as a key ingredient, shows this could be the game changer we’ve been looking for in one of the biggest challenges our world has ever seen.

Carbon Dioxide, scientists the world over agree, is the main culprit behind global warming. The primary greenhouse gas emitted through human activities, mostly from the burning of fossil fuels. The EPA says CO2 accounted for about 80.9% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from human activities in 2014.

Most of the world’s nations have agreed this is a problem we all share. The COP 21 agreement in Paris marking a significant step towards cutting down global carbon emissions by up to 70% by 2050. The new deal, however, will not on its own, put a sufficient enough dent in global warming's main contributing cause, experts say, to put the brakes on an increase in atmospheric temperatures of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. A necessary step in easing the effects of global warming.

This is where the XPRIZE Foundation comes in, offering a $20 Million dollar incentive for a viable, marketable product in the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE contest, using CO2 as a building block. This is one of the most brilliant and hopeful developments, in the fight against global warming, allowing all of us the chance to be a part of the solution to the problem.

I got the opportunity to interview Dr. Paul Bunje, Senior Scientist for Energy and Environment with the XPRIZE, for my show "23.5 Degrees" on The Weather Channel. Our talk ranging from the Carbon XPRIZE to the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, and many things in between. His enthusiasm and energy about these prizes and the possibility for solutions is infectious. It's exactly what the world needs, to tackle the seemingly insurmountable issues facing our planet; to know they are merely problems for now, waiting for the solutions that will come from the brilliant minds on our planet inspired to action by the generous support of XPRIZE.

The XPRIZE Foundation truly democratizes the challenges facing us; incentivizing and mobilizing human ingenuity, which has been a key catalyst for progress and innovation throughout the centuries. This allows all of us the opportunity to be agents of positive change, and if a little monetary reward for our efforts comes along with it, that just makes the solutions all the sweeter. Remember those carbon cupcakes?

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