The Earthshot Prize aims to encourage a "decade of change" by annually handing out five prizes of a million pounds. Like his father, William has dedicated a lot of time to environmental issues.
Britain's Prince William on Thursday launched a new prize that he and his co-organizer, broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough, hope will support solutions to combat climate change.
The Earthshot Prize aims to "incentivize change and help to repair our planet over the next 10 years," and "turn pessimism into optimism" by rewarding innovative solutions to environmental problems.
Five prizes of 1 million pounds (roughly €1.1 million or $1.3 million) will be awarded each year for the next 10 years, aiming to support at least 50 solutions to the world's greatest environmental problems by 2030.
The first five Earthshots will be awarded for projects that focus on protecting and restoring nature and clean air, reviving oceans, fixing the climate and reducing waste.
Kensington Palace described it as the "most prestigious global environment prize in history" and said it was inspired by US president John F. Kennedy's "Moonshot" project in the 1960s.
"We need to find solutions to be able to live our lives and enjoy our lives and not feel guilty and bad about some of the things we do," William, who is second in line to the throne, told BBC Radio 4 in an interview aired on Thursday. "I felt very much that there's a lot of people wanting to do many good things for the environment and what they need is a bit of a catalyst, a bit of hope, a bit of positivity that we can actually fix what's being presented."
Prince William and his wife Kate have paid considerable attention to climate issues, including this visit to a glacier in Pakistan late last year
The first set of nominations are set to open on November 1, with an annual global awards ceremony to be held in a different city each year. The first ceremony will be held in London in the second half of 2021.
"The Earthshot Prize is really about harnessing that optimism and that urgency to find solutions to some of the world's greatest environmental problems," said William. "The next 10 years are a critical decade for change. Time is of the essence, which is why we believe that this very ambitious global prize is the only way forward."
The prize is supported by a coalition of individuals and organizations, including the philanthropic bodies of billionaires like Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Alibaba founder Jack Ma and Michael Bloomberg.
Prizes can be awarded to individuals or teams, whether they be scientists, activists, economists, governments, business leaders and even countries.
"Suddenly there are real dangers that there may be a tipping point in which the icecaps of the North Pole begin to melt, which it's doing already," Attenborough told BBC radio. "People can see it's happening and it's a matter of great urgency now.''
The soft-spoken signature voice of BBC wildlife documentaries for decades, 94-year-old Attenborough has become increasingly outspoken on climate issues later in life.
lc/msh (Reuters, AP)