The Keeling Curve Prize Is Awarding 10 Climate Solutions $50,000—Here's How to Apply

The annual award is accepting submissions for 2023.

A man carries a little boy on his shoulders, both laugh happily. Solar panels and plants can be seen in the background.

Maki Nakamura / Getty

The Keeling Curve Prize is an annual award that aims to help solve climate change by helping fund projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The winners receive unrestricted grant money to support projects that reduce, remove, or replace planet-heating pollution. This year’s prizes have doubled to $50,000 and there’s still time to apply. 

Run by the nonprofit Global Warming Mitigation Project, the Keeling Curve Prize has awarded a total of $1,250,000 over the past five years to 50 projects that are all working towards solving the climate crisis. This year, 10 different projects can win a piece of the $500,000 total prize. Two winners will be selected from five different categories of solutions: Carbon Sinks, Energy, Finance, Social and Cultural Pathways, and Transport and Mobility.

To select winners, applications are reviewed by a team of analysts and the prize’s advisory council to determine a group of finalists. A panel of judges then votes among the finalists to make the final awards. 

"Applications are reviewed and scored by a panel of 12 climate experts, so the more evidence you can provide to demonstrate how your project or program reduces greenhouse gas emissions, the better," Megha Krishnan and Hannah Odell tell Treehugger. Krishnan is the communications manager at the Global Warming Mitigation Project and Odell is the organization's development director.

Krishnan and Odell say that doubling the size of the prize will provide nonprofits and companies with significant funds to accelerate their critically needed solutions. "Be it installing access to renewable energy, advancing nature-based projects, piloting new technologies, or advancing other innovative decarbonization programs, this funding will catalyze growth and climate action on a global scale."

Last year’s winners are a diverse group of companies and organizations that are addressing global warming on many different fronts. For example, BasiGo is a Kenya-based company that’s bringing electric buses to East Africa. Symbrosia is another 2022 winner and was recognized for its work growing seaweed in Hawaii to be used as livestock feed, something that research suggests can cut methane produced by cows by 80%. Other past winners include nonprofit organizations, like Citizens' Climate Lobby, which trains grassroots lobbyists to advocate for bipartisan climate solutions, and the Educated Choices Program, which creates science-based education programs about how food choices impact the environment.

In addition to the prize's initial funding, winners also receive support and mentoring from a Global Warming Mitigation Project's network of climate experts and organizations, usually leading to additional investments. According to the nonprofit, winners from the past five years have cumulatively raised an additional $1.1 billion after receipt of the Keeling Curve Prize.

To qualify, award hopefuls must be actively working to implement their climate solutions, as “unimplemented ideas or untested hypotheses” will not be considered. Applicants must also make an effort to quantify how much greenhouse gas could be avoided or sequestered by their solution. According to the Global Warming Mitigation Project, the projects they’ve helped to fund are collectively on track to reduce global carbon by an estimated 100 billion tonnes. 

Odell and Krishnan share one other important piece of advice for potential prize applicants: "Please do not self-reject!"

"We accept applications from a broad range of innovators and climate thinkers—ranging from those elevating tried and true traditional solutions to those pursuing new high-tech frontiers," they say. "Applicants can include: entrepreneurs, startups, university research groups, nonprofits, community leaders, and intrapreneurs at large companies or organizations. The Keeling Curve Prize seeks initiatives to reduce emissions or increase the uptake of greenhouse gases—especially the ones that activate and accelerate climate solutions around the world. Our past applicants hail from 103 countries, so we welcome submissions from anywhere."

The deadline to apply for this year’s Keeling Prize is February 10, 2023. Learn more about the application here.

View Article Sources
  1. Krishnan and Odell. Email to Margaret Badore. 20 Jan. 2023.

  2. "Keeling Curve Prize purse to double in 2023, accelerating climate solutions worldwide." Keeling Curve Prize. 14 Dec. 2022. Press release.