Leonardo DiCaprio on jury for Abu Dhabi energy prize
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The actor Leonardo DiCaprio, tennis champion Andre Agassi and Maldives president Mohammed Nasheed are among those who will choose next year's winners of the Zayed Future Energy Prize.

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They will join Elizabeth Dipuo Peters, South Africa's energy minister, who has led efforts to establish a renewable energy feed-in tariff; Timothy Wirth, president of the UN Foundation and Better World Fund; and Cherie Blair, founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation and wife of the former British prime minister Tony Blair.

The awards include a top prize of US$1.5 million (Dh5.5m) and a total pot of $4m.

They recognise companies and non-government organisations that have made a clear impact in the field of clean energy.

Individual politicians, scientists and business leaders are also eligible for a lifetime achievement award.

The judges were chosen for their parts in projects related to environmental activism or clean energy, according to Dr Sultan Al Jaber, director general of the prize, “along with a shared passion and commitment to advancing renewable energy and sustainability around the world”.

“We will greatly benefit by each of their specific areas of expertise and participation,” he said.

DiCaprio, who serves on the boards of the National Resources Defence Council and Global Green USA, has campaigned for changes in environmental policy and made efforts to raise awareness about global warming and renewable energy sources through the Leonardo DiCaprio Fund, which he founded 13 years ago.

Through the Andre Agassi Foundation, the former World No 1 tennis player is installing a 465-kilowatt solar energy system at a US school for at-risk children. 

Mr Nasheed was chosen because of his efforts to make the Maldives carbon neutral within a decade.

Returning judges will include Olafur Ragnar Grímsson, the president of Iceland; Ahmed Al Sayegh, chairman of Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s clean energy company; Dr Susan Hockfield, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); the architect Lord Foster; and Khaled Irani, a former Jordanian environment minister.

The winners will be announced in January. Last year’s top prize went to Vestas, a Danish maker of wind turbines.

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