We need new giant leap to save mankind, says Prince William as he unveils £50million Earthshot Prize

PRINCE William summoned up the crusading spirit of JFK yesterday to blitz the “global pessimism” around climate change.

William compared tackling the crisis to the 35th US President’s bid to put man on the Moon in the 1960s.

And today he will unveil the first 15 finalists of his ambitious ten-year £50million Earthshot Prize — dubbed the “Nobel prize for the environment”.

The winners will share £50million to develop ideas to tackle global warming.

Writing in the introduction to a book accompanying the contest, the Duke of Cambridge calls it “the most ambitious environmental prize in history”.

The prize’s name is inspired by John F Kennedy’s “Moonshot” push to reach Earth’s satellite, which led to massive technological advances.

William writes: “I wanted to recapture Kennedy’s Moonshot spirit of human ingenuity, purpose and optimism, and turn it with laser-sharp focus and urgency on to the most pressing challenge of our time — repairing our planet.

“I strongly believe that change is possible, when you put your mind to it.”

'The challenge facing our planet is immense'

Recalling the inspiration behind the prize during a trip to Namibia in 2018, William adds: “I wanted to find a way to bottle that innovation and community spirit and mass-produce it globally.

“But when I returned to the UK, just as the world was gathering again for the next round of climate change negotiations in Poland, I was hit by a wave of global pessimism.

"I understood why the mood was full of despair, of course. The challenge facing our planet is immense.”

William, 39, says he feared the world would switch off as the “global debate felt too complex, too negative, too overwhelming”.

And he set up the prize as he was “horrified by the cliff edge scientists predicted, yet determined not to give up”.

He also writes about the work done by his father, Prince Charles, and grandfather, Prince Philip, who died earlier this year.

Wills says: “Following in their footsteps, I have seen people all over the world face what seem like insurmountable challenges yet come together with collective ambition, and a can-do-spirit, to find solutions to them.”

The global debate felt too complex, too negative, too overwhelming.

Pop star Shakira and environmentalist Sir David Attenborough have also penned inspiring words for Earthshot: How to Save Our Planet, which will be published later this year.

The first 15 finalists will be announced online at midday. Five of them will each get £1million to develop their planet-saving ideas.

The winners will be revealed at an awards bash at Alexandra Palace in North London next month.

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