Environmental Prize Finalists Announced at EarthX

Finalists for the 2019 Keeling Curve Prize range from projects that combine microsatellites and artificial intelligence to detect methane leaks, to solar-powered irrigation efforts for rural Indian farmers, to a worldwide climate education effort by churches.

(The 2019 Keeling Curve Prize finalists are announced during the EarthX E-Capital Summit in Dallas. Photo by Paula Creevy)

The finalists, announced Thursday at the EarthX E-Capital Summit in Dallas, were chosen from almost 150 applications from all over the world.

“The quality of the applications this year was phenomenal – and heartening,” said Jacquelyn Francis, founder and director of the Keeling Curve Prize. “Given the urgency of our climate problem, it’s essential that we identify and expand approaches to attacking global warming at its source. Tenacious people around the world are working on promising solutions, and we hope the Keeling Curve Prize can help amplify their work.”

The price honors projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or promote carbon uptake. The finalists are in the running for a share of $250,000 in prize money.

Four finalists were named for each of this year’s five prize categories:
• Carbon Capture and Utilization
• Energy Access
• Transportation
• Finance
• Social & Cultural Impacts

An international panel of judges from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors will select two winners in each category. Winners will be announced at the Aspen Ideas Festival in June.

The following is a list of finalists:

Carbon Capture and Utilization
Opus 12 (Berkeley, CA) is developing a device that recycles CO₂ into cost-competitive chemicals and fuels.
Wildcoast (Imperial Beach, CA) is working to secure a resilient coastline to help protect communities, economies and ecosystems from climate change impacts in the Gulf of California.
Regen Network’s (Great Barrington, MA) technology makes it possible to value carbon capture into landscapes through changes in agriculture, forestry or ocean management.
Bluefield (Palo Alto, CA) detects methane leaks via microsatellites and artificial intelligence.

Energy Access
Solar Sister (Great Falls, VA) invests in women’s enterprises in off-grid communities.
10Power (San Francisco) develops and finances renewable energy projects in markets lacking access to electricity.
Oorja Development (India) develops community solar pumping systems for groups of smallholder farmers in rural India.
African Clean Energy (Lesotho) produces cookstoves that reduce smoke emissions and solar electricity for small electronics and LED lighting.

Ma’anshan Rural Commercial Bank (China) is working to become the first green commercial bank in China.
Clean Energy Works (Washington, D.C.) is using pay-as-you-save financing to help transportation companies switch to electric buses.
CalCEF/Nexus (Oakland, CA) is forming a Qualified Clean Energy Opportunity Zone Fund to deploy solar, wind, energy storage and other clean economy assets.
Odyssey Energy Solutions (Boulder, CO) standardizes tools and metrics for off-grid distributed energy developers and investors.

Jetty (Mexico City) is using technology to establish and enforce stricter service standards on private suppliers of loosely regulated “colectivo” services in Mexico City.
Three Wheels United (Bangalore) is using finance and technology to decarbonize the auto rickshaw market.
Bridges to Prosperity (Denver) works with local governments and isolated communities to build footbridges and create pedestrian access to essential services.
Green Gas (Cambridge, MA) is bringing carbon pricing to Main Street, creating new sources of funding for climate solutions.

Social & Cultural Impacts
Mothers of Invention (England) is an often inspirational and often funny podcast that looks at climate change solutions through the lenses of climate justice and gender.
EcoChallenge (Portland, OR) inspires, educates and activates individuals around community-based change.
World Council of Churches (Geneva) aims to provide houses of worship with tools and know-how to enable reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through youth engagement.
SBTi (Globally) helps financial institutions use science-based targets to align their investment and lending portfolios with the Paris Agreement.

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