Close this search box.

Keeling Curve Prize Invites Cities Targeting GHGs to Apply for $25,000 Award

“From many seeds, solutions grow.” That’s the thinking behind the Keeling Curve Prize, which recognizes projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or promote uptake. The awards program is custom-designed to spotlight a wide variety of promising solutions to global warming.

Because municipalities are so often the laboratories of climate action — where dynamic solutions are put in place, improved, and expanded — projects organized by ICLEI member cities and counties are natural candidates for the award. That’s why the Keeling Curve Prize team is eager to see more applications from city and county governments.

“Forward-thinking and tenacious people around the world are working on projects that can curb climate change, but too often, they never get the chance to scale up their projects and make a major dent in the problem,” says Jacquelyn Francis, founder and director of the Keeling Curve Prize. “The Keeling Curve Prize helps problem-solvers turn promising projects into widespread solutions.”

This year, the Keeling Curve Prize will award $25,000 to 10 projects in five categories:

  • Transportation
  • Social & Cultural Impacts
  • Energy Access
  • Carbon Capture & Utilization
  • Finance

The deadline for entry is February 1, and the competition is capped at 300 entries. 

Keeling Curve Prize winners join a supportive network that can offer helpful contacts and advice, and can open doors to partnerships and additional funding. Past winners have included nonprofits, businesses, and university-based programs.

One of the 2018 Keeling Curve Prize winners, Chemolex, is turning invasive water hyacinth into biofuel for rural Kenyans, as a cleaner-burning alternative to charcoal and wood. The prize money allowed the company to boost production, reach hundreds of new families, and catch the attention of the Kenya National Innovation Agency, which has offered help navigating government rules and licenses.

Another 2018 Keeling Curve Prize winner, Pollinate Energy, facilitates the uptake of affordable clean energy products — including solar lamps, solar fans and cleaner cooking stoves — in India and Nepal, while also giving disadvantaged community members the chance to start their own businesses. The prize money enabled Pollinate to merge with Empower Generation and increase sales in Nepal by 400% in just six months.  

Pollinate’s CEO, Alexie Seller, says winning the prize “is like a validation stamp for your impact. We’ve found funders look to our success in highly regarded awards programs like this one.”

The Keeling Curve Prize is named for the iconic Keeling Curve, which shows the increase of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere as measured from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. Bending that curve – reducing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere — is the key to curbing climate change.

For years, cities and counties have been showing the world innovative ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions and promote carbon uptake. Whether it’s reinventing transportation, improving clean-energy access in disadvantaged communities, or reducing emissions from existing energy systems, municipalities are developing the practical climate solutions the Earth so badly needs. If you’d like to spotlight the great work your city is doing to tackle climate change —  and win some fresh funding while you’re at it —  please see for more information and to apply for the Keeling Curve Prize.