In this episode, Jacquelyn Francis, founder and executive director of the Keeling Curve Prize, explains how the organization provides financial support for organizations leading the way for climate stabilization. So far, KCP has given over $750,000 in prizes to technology and social/cultural innovators, and has developed a global network of thought leaders, inventors, engineers, social entrepreneurs, and scientists. She also shares the urgent imperative to “Vote Climate,” and introduces a special 30-second video we share at the end of the episode. After all, we have the technical know-how to massively mitigate climate change – it is now a question of political will, policy leadership, and mobilizing financial resources.
Named for Charles David Keeling, who is credited with the atmospheric carbon concentration data chart from 1958 onward, the Keeling Curve Prize is focused on climate action and climate solutions. Through its Constellations program, KCP applicants are invited to provide internships to highly skilled university and graduate school students developing careers in climate action, environmental sustainability, clean technology, engineering, data science, and ecological stewardship. Its growing ecosystem of companies are organized into two key categories, appropriately dubbed the “Troposphere” (applicants) and “Stratosphere” (award winners). The KCP focuses on solutions that are scalable, and have widespread potential efficacy.
Jacquelyn Francis is the creator and Executive Director of the Keeling Curve Prize and a board member of its overarching organization, the Global Warming Mitigation Project. While getting a master’s degree in Energy Policy and Climate from Johns Hopkins University, she became concerned with the slow pace climate solutions were being adopted and implemented and the lack of progress towards global carbon emission reductions. She decided that more needed to be done to accelerate the shift to a climate stable future and using her background, connections and expertise started the prize. She has built a network of scientists and experts devoted to action, spoke at the Explorers Club in NYC, became involved with the TED community in Vancouver, and has awarded half a million dollars to international climate solutions.
Prior to founding the Keeling Curve Prize, Jackie ran a pilot program for the Smithsonian Science Education Center about emergent scientific learning alongside world-renowned physicist, David Pines. She spent 4 years as the Executive Director of the Aspen Science Center – working closely with the Aspen Center for Physics, she coordinated a program for the U.S. Department of Energy under Steven Chu, and has been instrumental in spurring action surrounding energy solutions for decades.