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Barrasso: A New Look at Climate Change

February 8, 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo., has introduced a bill aimed at developing technology to remove existing excess green houses gases from the atmosphere and permanently sequester them.

The “Greenhouse Gas Emission Atmospheric Removal Act,” or GEAR Act, will establish an award system for scientists and researchers.

“My proposal takes a new look at climate change,” Barrasso said. “This approach removes excess greenhouse gasses already in the atmosphere. The GEAR Act aims to tap into human potential and the American spirit to develop the technological solutions we need to address climate change.”

“Where ever you find yourself on the issue of climate change, we can agree on one important dynamic – change not only awaits us - it is banging on the door. We need to change it on our terms before Washington ’s massive bureaucracy changes it for us.”

“It makes sense that we explore proposals to remove and permanently sequester excess greenhouse gases from the atmosphere to slow or reverse climate change. The best way to develop the technology we need to achieve this is through a system of financial awards, or prizes, for achieving technological goals established by Congress.”

“Putting strict limits on our economy is not the answer to climate change.  A healthy economy that spurs American ingenuity makes more sense to me.”

Mark Northam, Director of the School of Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming , said: “Removal of greenhouse gases directly from the atmosphere is the Holy Grail of climate change mitigation solutions.  As currently envisioned, successful technologies will mimic natural processes and over time will help to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at acceptable levels.”

Jim Manzi, CEO of Applied Predictive Technologies, said: “I fully endorse this measure.  Prizes have been used to spur major technical innovations for centuries, ranging from methods to determine longitude in the 18th century to creating a low-cost spacecraft in the 21st.  I hope that participants of all political viewpoints in the climate change debate can find common ground with the creation of a prize to encourage the development of a technical means for addressing this serious problem.”

“I believe prizes can be a unique tool in creating technological development,” Barrasso added. “It only seems natural that if we get all the best scientific minds thinking about the same problem, we significantly enhance our chances of solving it.”

Historically, prizes have been used to spur all types of technological development to solve problems.

For example, in 1909, the first flight across the English Channel was spurred by a prize offered by a newspaper.

Charles Lindbergh was competing for the Orteig Prize, offered by wealthy hotelier Raymond Orteig, when he flew in the Spirit of St. Louis, non-stop from New York to Paris in 1927.

The achievement spawned a $300 billion aviation industry.

The program would be established by a federal commission under the Department of Energy. Commission members, appointed by the President, would be comprised of climate scientists, physicists, chemists, engineers, business managers and economists.

Awards will go to public and private entities that design technology to remove and permanently sequester greenhouse gases.

Awards would also be made for lab scale demonstration of technology that accomplishes the same thing.

There would also be an award for demonstrating technology to remove and permanently sequester greenhouse gases that is operational at a larger, working model scale, as well as for technology which demonstrates technology to remove and permanently sequester greenhouse gasses on a commercially viable scale.

Once the technology is developed, the United States would share the intellectual property rights with the inventor.


February 2008 News Releases