Chairman of the Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson, has announced a $25 million prize for the person who comes up with a way of extracting greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The challenge is to find the first viable, in an incredibly large-scale way, method to capture and remove carbon dioxide from the air. Hopefully a subsequent contest will offer a prize to the first person who can figure out how to resuscitate dead plants and trees.

Somebody get Mr. Peabody and Sherman on the phone for this challenge. In the meantime, I’ll simply hope that none of the prize-seekers end up trashing the entire house in order to catch a mouse. Branson should have made certain stipulations, because I can envision somebody coming up with a way to remove CO2 from the atmosphere — oh, along with all the oxygen as well. Whoops! Oh well, at last, a foolproof way to prevent forest fires.

Al Gore, who joined Branson as he announced the prize, recently said that the planet has a “fever,” and you know what grandma always said about that: “starve a fever.” This should come as horrendous news for famine-plagued third-world countries that would much prefer the planet have a cold.

I can’t come up with an overall way to rid the atmosphere of greenhouse gases, but what I am going to do is offer a couple of recommendations and hope that Mr. Branson will consider giving me a small share of the prize money. Just a million or two should do the trick.

Okay, here’s my plan, respectfully offered to Sir Richard Branson, to dramatically reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere:

Step 1 — Ground all Virgin Atlantic Airways planes.

On average, 747′s burn about a gallon of fuel every second – or five gallons per mile. 36,000 gallons over the course of a ten-hour flight. True, assuming the plane is fully loaded, that’s about a hundred miles per gallon per person — while pretty good mileage, it’s still an awful lot of fuel bilge going into the atmosphere. Flying is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions. Charity starts at home, as does saving the planet. Ground those planes and set an example. Private jets for Branson and Gore? Out of the question.

I’m assuming that those rockets for Branson’s planned commercial space flights on “Virgin Galactic“ aren’t very fuel efficient either.

Step 2 to help eliminate greenhouse gas emissions is a little simpler – Shut up Al Gore:

Okay everybody, now go into your laboratories and start working on that $25 million! I think we all know who’s going to win though:

“I used my prize money to buy Michael Jackson’s oxygen enriched sleep chamber.”


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