X Prize Founder Bets On Billionaires For Cleantech Breakthrough

Feb 27 2009 | 8:55am ET

Peter Diamandis, founder of the X Prize Foundation, the self-proclaimed mission of which is to “bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity,” says philanthropists, rather than government, may be best positioned to tackle climate change.

“It’s great that governments the world over have woken up to the need for finding new ways to generate energy and extract carbon from the atmosphere,” Diamandis told the BBC, “The question is will they take the kind of risks needed because to have a fundamental breakthrough requires real risk taking.”

Diamandis was speaking on the sidelines of the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco, a gathering of nearly 800 industry leaders representing about $3 trillion in capital.

"The day before something is really a breakthrough,” said Diamandis, “It’s a crazy idea.”

Diamandis told the BBC he believed a growing army of billionaire philanthropists might be best placed to take the necessary risks.

“There are more than 1,000 individual billionaires who all of a sudden have the power to change the world for the better.

“These are people trying to transition from success to significance and now they can use that capital to try and change the world,” said Diamandis.


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