Our flagship program, the Keeling Curve Prize, awards $50,000 annually to each of 10 global projects that demonstrate the ability to reduce, replace, or remove greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Since 2018, we’ve awarded $1.75M to 60 nonprofits, for-profits, and startups, vetted more than 1,130 viable solutions, and grown one of the largest networks of global warming mitigators in the world. The initiatives we’ve awarded are currently projected to reduce 3.27 gigatons of CO2e emissions this year alone*.
About the prize
The Keeling Curve Prize is more than a financial award – it jumpstarts growth for countless deserving climate leaders at the pace required to achieve meaningful and lasting emissions reductions across the planet.
Applicants come from more than 109 countries worldwide and represent emerging markets, BIPOC- and women-led organizations, and some of the world’s most under-resourced, vulnerable communities. After a rigorous review process led by our diverse and talented group of experts, 10 winners are awarded $50,000 each to scale and succeed.
Since receiving the award, our laureates (winners) have cumulatively raised an additional $1.2B in funding.
Projects in this category activate and accelerate natural and/or man-made (engineered) systems for carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS). They are developing, advancing, and/or implementing technological and nature-based strategies for capturing and/or utilizing heat-trapping gases from the air and/or oceans. Projects that bring these strategies to the forefront of the marketplace, account for long-term sequestration viability, and provide methods for verification will be prioritized.
Projects in this category decarbonize energy, support zero-carbon energy innovations and are leading the way in the supply, distribution, access, infrastructure, or improvements of low or zero-emissions energy systems worldwide. Specifically, we are looking for projects that are focused on clean energy for equitable energy access, including innovations in smart utility-scale grids with low end-user costs, and mini-grids and off-grid solutions to reach the "last mile" customers in underserved areas worldwide. Approaches could be regional, national, or international, and should consider economic accessibility, efficacy, scalability, and strategic competitiveness with fossil fuels as main goals. Projects that improve energy access for less-developed communities in swift and stable ways (especially those vulnerable to increased coal/fossil fuel use) and can demonstrate scalability, or projects that effectively reduce the emissions of energy systems already in place are especially encouraged to apply.
Projects that apply in this category are making the economics and/or financial mechanisms work for heat-trapping gas reduction and/or reversal ventures. Tactics could include financing for lower or zero emissions businesses, creating and deploying financial mechanisms that consider ecological and human sustainability, financial empowerment for climate solution programs, divestment and investment strategies, eliminating financial barriers, carbon accounting, and policy — just to name a few. These projects are designed to counterbalance or replace financial strategies that fail to account for longer-term planetary viability in respect to global warming. These include widespread participation by marginalized communities and economic valuation of thriving ecosystems where the positive impact has been independently verified.
Social & Cultural Pathways
Projects in this category are changing the way people consider, understand, and act on humanity’s impacts affecting the livability of planet Earth. They are trying to answer the question: what does it take, socially and culturally, to develop beyond fossil fuels? As the availability of solutions expands, how do we close the gaps in human behavior and implementation? These projects are influencing consumption, awareness, communication, mobilization, activism, policy, international relations, and cultural norms. They encourage individuals, communities, businesses, and governments to make progress toward emission reductions and carbon drawdown — both now and in the future. Projects should be able to demonstrate a path to efficacy and scalability.
Transport & Mobility
Projects that apply in this category should be reimagining and reinventing all types of vehicles, fuels, and mobility options for both people and products. These projects will confront the carbon footprint of the vehicles themselves and the routes traveled. Creative solutions could include travel avoidance, innovative manufacturing, the roadways or other systems over which the vehicles operate, waste-reduction in supply chain distribution, improvements in fleet management, mass transit scheduling and efficiency, rural access to zero-emissions transportation, power sources and charging for electric vehicles, and more. We strongly encourage the application for any project that accelerates power source and modal shifts, addresses weak and wasteful transport systems, and challenges the viability of the internal combustion engine.