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Prince William launches global prize for those tackling climate emergency

The Duke of Cambridge is launching the most prestigious global prize yet for combatting the climate emergency. Credit: Kensington Palace

The Duke of Cambridge is using the start of the new decade to launch the most prestigious global prize yet for combatting the climate emergency.

Prince William has teamed up with naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough and they hope the new multi-million pound Earthshot Prize will equal the Nobel Peace Prize within a few years in terms of its significance.

William has consulted his father, the Prince of Wales, and his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, about the project.

Both men have made significant contributions to the debate on the natural world over many decades.

The Duke of Cambridge wants to involve as many members of the Royal Family as possible in his ambitious new project.

Prince William said: “The earth is at a tipping point and we face a stark choice: either we continue as we are and irreparably damage our planet or we remember our unique power as human beings and our continual ability to lead, innovate and problem-solve.”

Princes Charles, William and Harry with Sir David Attenborough attend the global premiere of Netflix's 'Our Planet' in April. Credit: PA

Five winners will be chosen each year and recognised at a ceremony, the details of which are still being worked on.

The launch is accompanied by a new online video narrated by Sir David Attenborough which is being subtitled in seven other languages including Chinese and Spanish to reach as many people as possible around the world.

Kensington Palace says the Prince wants the world to show a similar spirit to help the world’s environment that was last witnessed in the 1960s with the global push to land a man on the moon.

Sir David Attenborough said: "The spirit of the Moonshot can guide us today as we confront the serious challenges we face on earth.”

Sir David was the first person the Duke consulted about his Earthshot idea outside his family, more than a year ago.

The respected naturalist called it “a global prize designed to motivate and inspire a new generation of thinkers, leaders and dreamers to think differently. Visionaries rewarded over the next decade for responding to the great challenges of our time.”

The decade-long project will encourage people in every corner of the planet, in large countries and small, to find answers to the biggest issues facing the planet and trigger a “tidal wave of ambition and innovation.”

Prince William’s team points to the growing concern for rising temperatures, and the pressures on nature, biodiversity, the oceans, air pollution and fresh water.

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The prize will award those who have found solutions in what the Palace says is a push for “fresh optimism and action” to replace the “current pessimism around the environment”.

It will focus on those communities who are most at risk from climate change and projects that would not have otherwise been pursued.

The project is being backed by William and Kate’s Royal Foundation and in time, they hope the winners will receive large-scale public recognition for their work to inspire businesses and governments to follow their lead.

An annual ceremony will take place in different cities across the world between 2021 and 2030.