[image: our friends the polar bears and their declining habitat,
the new york times]

Now we all knew that is was really only a matter of time before Richard Branson would offer a $25 million prize to the first person to solve climate change, as The New Scientist reports here. Do not mistake my tone by presuming i mean to trivialise what is actually an amazing act and may indeed prove entirely productive. I just find Richard Branson such a bizarre character i sometimes fail to believe he is real; rather, he seems to me a character Jules Verne would have concocted had he been alive 100 years later than he was.

Anyway, Branson’s Virgin Earth Challenge will most certainly summon up a plethora of earth-savers and climate-change crusaders; there are already a whole bunch of seemingly mad-hatter-although-possibly-not ideas out there, among which one may find numbered

  • injecting into the atmosphere millions of tons of sulphur to reflect 1% of sunlight back out there. This would have the added effect of creating acid rain and possible respiratory problems. It was also suggested by a Nobel Laureate, Paul Crutzen.
  • a giant orbiting dust cloud.
  • painting the ground white to reflect the Light!

Check out Physicsweb for a discussion of these ideas. Please do note that Sir Richard is not offering the prize for discoveries of efficient alternative energy sources AND he does own Virgin airlines.

[image: photo of richard branson from the venus transit 2004 website]

[image: photo of the sun from solarnavigator.net]