Omani carbon elimination start-up among winners at Earthshot Prize

Prince William and Kate push climate 'optimism and urgency' at ceremony in Boston

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A technique for transforming atmospheric carbon into rock in Oman was named one of the five winners of this year's Earthshot Prize.

The second annual Earthshot Prize offered £1 million ($1.2 million) in prize money to each of the winners in five categories: nature protection, clean air, ocean revival, waste elimination and climate change.

The winners and all 15 finalists will receive aid in expanding their projects to meet global demand.

The Omani project, 44.01, is named after the molecular mass of carbon dioxide.

“We’re honoured to be the Middle East’s first Earthshot finalist,” the founder of 44.01, Talal Hasan, told The National.

The other winners included a female-founded start-up that is providing cleaner-burning biomass stoves in Africa and a “greenhouse-in-a-box” concept created to increase yields on small farms in India.

A UK company making biodegradable packaging from seaweed and a woman-led effort to create a new generation of indigenous rangers in Australia were also included.

At the ceremony in Boston, the UK's Prince William on Friday sounded an optimistic tone about solving the world’s environmental problems through “hope, optimism and urgency".

The Prince of Wales paid homage to the late John F Kennedy, saying his Earthshot Prize was inspired by the former US president's audacious speech in 1962 that mobilised the nation to put astronauts on the Moon.

That same sense of urgency and scale is needed now to protect the environment, Prince William said.

“In the same way the space effort six decades ago created jobs, boosted economies and provided hope, so, too, can the solutions borne of tonight’s Earthshot Prize winners,” he said.

The event was held at Boston’s MGM Music Hall as part of a glitzy show headlined by Billie Eilish, David Beckham, Rami Malek, Shaliene Woodley, Annie Lennox, Ellie Goulding, and R&B duo Chloe and Halle Bailey.

Also walking the green carpet for the festivities was US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and his wife Lauren, actor Daniel Dae Kim and Mitt Romney, a senator from Utah.

The show also featured videos narrated by naturalist David Attenborough and actress Cate Blanchett.

It will be broadcast by the BBC in the UK, PBS in the US and Multichoice across Africa later on Friday.

In a guest article in The Huffington Post, the future king said about the finalists: "The Earthshot Prize wants to find the best of them. We want to celebrate and support them, so that we not only supercharge their positive impact but also demonstrate to a despairing world that there is an optimistic way forward.

"Dire predictions about our natural world aren't the only side to this story and they don't have to be our future."

The Prince and Princess of Wales are on their first overseas trip since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, aiming to showcase the younger face of a monarchy that is tackling important issues such as climate change as it attempts to remain relevant in a modern, multicultural Britain.

Before attending the Earthshot ceremony, Prince William met US President Joe Biden after his visit at the John F Kennedy Memorial Library and Museum.

The two discussed climate goals and mental health, the White House said.

Prince William was greeted by former president Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy.

Ms Kennedy showed the prince around the grounds along with her children John Kennedy Schlossberg and Tatiana Kennedy Schlossberg.

While he was at the Library, the Princess of Wales visited Harvard University's Centre on the Developing Child. The centre is a leader in research into the long-term impact of early childhood experiences.

News agencies contributed to this report

Updated: December 03, 2022, 5:28 AM