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Branson pledges $3 billion to fight global warming

     
3:46 pm on Sep 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson on Thursday committed an estimated $3 billion over the next 10 years, or all of the profits from his airline and rail businesses, to combating global warming.

"We are very pleased today to be making a commitment to invest 100 percent of all future proceeds to the Virgin Group from our transportation interest, both our trains and airline businesses, into tackling global warming," Branson told a news conference at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York.


Branson pledges $3 billion to fight global warming [news.com.com]

That's an awful lot of money!

8:48 pm on Sept 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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holy crap

is he trying to win a Nobel?

8:52 pm on Sept 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It is a lot of money but Branson is putting that money into developing new fuels that he can use in his and other transportation businesses.
8:56 pm on Sept 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I don't see it in that article, but last night I heard a commentator mention that Bransons money would mostly go for research/development of alternate, more eco friendly fuel for planes and trains.

I don't know if that's even close to true, and I'm not sure which program I was half listening to at the moment. So.............. :)

[added] I see sem4u must have heard/seen something similar[/added]

9:11 pm on Sept 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Branson's Virgin company has always struck me as being an excellent corporate role model.
11:23 pm on Sept 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Branson has said that his group is developing their own biofuel - something they can use in their own planes. I wonder if some of that $3 billion is going to be invested in that?
1:34 am on Sept 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Publicity stunt. Like almost everything the beared one does.

Most of the three billion will be invested in Branson owned companies so that the profits come home.

1:51 am on Sept 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hey, wait a minute. Marilyn Branson doesn't have a beard.
5:30 am on Sept 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

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<"Publicity stunt."

I'm afraid so......

By now according to Branson we should be able to book our holiday in Space. Hasn't happened, and isn't going to anytime soon.

If we want a holiday in Space the Russians are the only providers!......at $20 million a ticket!

Branson is great at dreams, but, useless at reality. Which is odd because he made most of his money from reality.

I guess the dreams got to big for him?

This isn't a Branson hitting post! I think the guy is great, I always choose his airline if possible, he just promotes a little too much for credibility IMHO :)

8:00 am on Sept 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>Branson is great at dreams, but, useless at reality.

He doesn't do badly compared to most and 'reality' usually starts as a 'dream'

People like him have 'vision' which may not be forefilled by themselves but often get the ball rolling for others. Branson stimulates ambition and discussion which is often a good thing. As for publicity and self promotion, that is not a crime and probably an inevitable by product of all his projects. It would be more difficult to keep it secret and in many cases the projects would be compromised by doing this. He is a motivator, that is his role. The way he gets things moving is via the inspirational presentations he does, which makes people believe the 'dream' is possible.

Accusing people of self publicity is a sign of a fragile ego. Bob Geldof gets similar criticism, but if he had not put his head above the parapet more lives would have been lost. I want publicity for these people, I want to know what they are thinking and I like the way they are accountable and not secretive. If they also make money, good luck to them, after all, we all need to make money and live the best we can.

1:21 pm on Sept 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I don't think that its a stunt at all.

I you are a really, really, really clever business person you can do things which benefits both your business and the environment. This is what Mr Branson has done.

He is putting profits from his transportation business into developing better energy resources. If it works, this will benefit those businesses in the long run by lowering their costs. It will benefit the energy business itself, as he can sell his technology to other transport companies (airlines, trains, cars). Better still if things go very well he could find that he has an energy company that could compete with some of the big oil companies. And of course he gets good publicity for doing it.

This is a guy who's a proven innovator and who isn't afraid to take calculated risks (both in business and for fun/challenge - he holds several Guinness World Records). He's built up successfull businesses and isn't afraid to take on and fully commit to new ventures - just see his Virgin Galactic space travel website for example.

As someone interested in geography I know that most of the world catastrophes in the future will be caused by climate change caused by rising human energy demands - climate change is the biggest challenge facing the world bar none. Putting 1.5 billion / $3 billion into alternative energy development may eventually save many more lives than putting the same amount into any charity. Not an altogether bad outcome for doing something that simply makes good business sense.

1:39 pm on Sept 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>>As someone interested in geography I know that most of the world catastrophes in the future will be caused by climate change caused by rising human energy demands - climate change is the biggest challenge facing the world bar none.

Not saying you're wrong. However, being interested in geography seems to be a tenuous qualification for such an absolute statement.

Haven't there been several known episodes of abrupt climate change, the causes of which had nothing to do with human energy demands?

2:55 pm on Sept 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Having admired Branson's lead, I cannot resolve the fact that his airline is a major source of unnecessary polution, so his concerns about global warning are hypocritical.

Perhaps he should close his airline and get his staff to promote the concept that air travel comes at a greater price to humanity than just the cost of a cheap ticket. They should be employed in undoing the damage they have caused and make people realise that holiday and most business travel is wrong and unnecessary.

With that in mind, all you who promote holiday air travel are probably the cause of many future disasters. Dare I say, seo conventions as advertised here are a contributing factor, as the motivation for attending such events is never worth the damage you cause the environment.

He may be able to square his conscience with billions of research money, but he continues to promote and cause huge damage in the process of running his airline. A far more effective action would be for us all to modify our travel behaviour and question how and why we travel. We as individuals have the power to solve this problem

Fly Virgin and help research? It's like a serial killer giving donations to the police force.

1:06 am on Sept 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

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For anyone who's interested, tonight Sir Richard Branson is a guest on David Letterman.
1:24 am on Sept 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>>Haven't there been several known episodes of abrupt climate change, the causes of which had nothing to do with human energy demands?

Shhh. That's a secret. In the 70s the pseudo scientists were predicting the next Ice Age. In the 50s and 60s it was Malthusian hypothesis starvation. Malthus by the way, argued against his own tenets in 1814 but most people really didn't care, and still don't. ;)

10:03 am on Sept 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

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lawman,

My interest comes from having studied geography in high school, then having taking it for two years at Uni, though I eventually focused solely on Computing Science (i.e. programming).

And the opinion is shared with many experts. Political leaders including Tony Blair, Prince Charles, Kofi Annan have also made comments stating that the issue is of huge importance.

160 countries have signed up to the Kyoto Protocol to try to do something about pollution, emmissions etc that could speed up global warming. Signing up to this doesn't exactly boast there economy - so they're not doing this for nothing.

You are spot on though about other episodes of abrupt climate change. My opinion did sound too much like fact - sorry :)

The Earth is always either warming up or slowing down (towards the next ice age) - all very slowly of course. Within this normal cycle there are episodes of abrupt climate change, hot or cold - sometimes caused by things like huge volcanic erruptions, meteorites etc but at other times they just seem to happen of their own accord. So humans actually having an impact all to possible.

The debate just now is whether we are in a rapid warming period. Most scientists seem to accept that we are. For those people the debate becomes whether its a naturally occuring spike, a man made one, or both of the above.

It may seem far fetched to believe that we changing things when we've been alive for thousands of years (the species, not me personally). But it should be considered that, due to rapid population growth, something like a twelve of all people ever to have thought to have existed are alive on the planet now. And in a blink of an eye we've discovered fossil fuels, and began to burn a great deal of them. And we've really started to change our environment in a way that dwarfs what we've done in the past (cutting down the rainforests, putting chemicals into the air like cfcs, etc).

MHes,

You're right - Mr Branson's airline is a major source of unnecessary polution so he is hypocritical.

By the same token anyone who drives a car to work is a major source of unnecessary polution and so are likewise hypocritical for being interested in the environment.

And anyone who eats any food that doesn't come of their own farm (food is transported by rail/sea/lorries using fuel) is a major source of unnecessary polution and so are likewise hypocritical for showing an interested in the environment.

And anyone who uses a computer - boy, are they hippocrates! Using machines derived from plastics (made from oil), replacing their old pcs with new ones (what was so bad about the C64 anyway?), powering it from energy stations that use renewables. Damn those evil, evil people. Such hypocrites.

So since I use a car, use plastic bin liners, turn on light switches and eat food I am likewise a major source of unnecessary polution (don't travel, grow only stuff in my garden, staying in the dark are all options that I could technically do) - so I too am hypocritical.

Therefore your quote "It's like a serial killer giving donations to the police force" makes perfect sense to me ;)

If Virgin are showing an interest in doing something that both benefits its business and could eventually help or reduce our dependency on fossil fuels then I think its good. It's like many of us - we still drive cars, buy food from the supermarket etc but as we've shown an interest in the environment, my coucil now recycles a lot of my waste, we all have cat. converters on our cars, it looks like we'll need to pay 10p for a supermarket bag (encouraging their re-use) and so on - "every little helps" ;)

[edited by: TravelSite at 10:10 am (utc) on Sep. 29, 2006]

2:56 pm on Sept 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

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we all have cat. converters on our cars

Interesting. Does that convert cats into energy? Burn them? Run them on little wheels?

grow only stuff in my garden

I think my garden area is too polluted to use. :(

I don't see a problem with anyone being interested in environmental issues. Even better if they have a profit motive.

9:03 pm on Sept 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I suspect we're only a few years away from massive international government regulation on aviation emissions.

So I don't think it's either a publicity stunt to make Virgin Atlantic appear greener than other airlines, nor a signal that Branson has converted into a born-again eco-warrior.

He just wants to make sure that Virgin Atlantic is still around in twenty years time.

10:08 pm on Sept 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Yeah there is global warming, but it has been in the news not too far back that the other planets of our solar system are warming up as well...so it isnt because we are eating too many beans...the cause is far more grander...alas, humans need to make cash off it.
7:09 am on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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TravelSite - "So since I use a car, use plastic bin liners, turn on light switches and eat food I am likewise a major source of unnecessary polution"

No, you have missed the point. Everybody has a carbon footprint and many day to day uses of fuels etc are acceptable and easily coped with by nature. You can live very well and comfortably within those boundaries. For example, we all have to eat food, but do not have to regularly eat food that was produced thousands of miles away. We have to drive cars but often can avoid it and short journeys can be done on foot. Working from home as much as possible and using a computer can result in a sensible reduction of your carbon foot print, despite the fossil fuels used to make your computer. These practical choices need not lower your quality of life and can often increase it. Working from home occasionally can mean you are there with your children in the evening, rather than stuck in a traffic jam. Walking to the local shop or train station can improve your health and supporting your local farm shop or corner shop has benefits to your local community. We are all in the habit of being wasteful and encouraged to believe that we need many products in order to have a forefilling life but this is wrong.

Try sitting in the dark one evening, don't turn on the light and don't even have a meal. The experience may just give you time to think. It may also be what our grand children are forced to do in 50 years time, without the freedom of choice you currently enjoy.

7:40 am on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I was just wondering...what makes this man different any insight on how he works, while many airlines are finding difficult to show profits this man is doing wonderful job

any book or something you might have read on his management policies or any special skills please do share

12:01 pm on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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He did start out by running the best record shop in the UK ( small and hidden away as it was ) ..I remember travelling 400 miles round trip to visit him and check out his import racks ..he's a very nice guy ..very smart and clear thinking ..and he doesn't do BS ..good sense of humour too ..met him again recently ..same guy just richer ..if anything his mind is faster now ;-)

[edited by: Leosghost at 12:02 pm (utc) on Oct. 1, 2006]

5:30 pm on Oct 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Let's be honest. The main reason for his success is that he came up with a great brand name and he developed that brand. He has had some successful companies, some moderately successful and some dismal failures (eg virgin cola). He is clever enough to know when to get out and if you analyse his "empire" quite a lot of it is no longer owned by him.

I don't think he is some sort of business genius or guru he is just a clever guy with a great brand name who knows the value of the brand.

9:26 am on Oct 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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From what I understand the chap started of by selling records from the trunk of his car. He made a success of that. Then diverged into other things. And made successes of them too.

The Virgin Group has something like 200 companies in it (having ranged from music to mobiles through to - well, though to space ships!) and the Sunday Times estimated his personal wealth to be greater than $2 billion.

Not bad for a kid who dropped out of school at 16.

10:53 am on Oct 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Just to post an opposite view, there are those who don't have such a rosey view of him...

<snip>See Tom Boyers biography for more info</snip>

[edited by: trillianjedi at 12:33 pm (utc) on Oct. 3, 2006]
[edit reason] Keep quotes to a minimum please, and let's not leave a scent for the lawyers ;) [/edit]

9:23 pm on Oct 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It is a lot of money but Branson is putting that money into developing new fuels that he can use in his and other transportation businesses.

Exactly, Branson isn't giving this money away to a third party; he is investing his profits into new businesses. This shows that good environmental stewardship can be profitable. If he succeeds with this research, he stands to make billions and billions more than he invested. This is a win win situations. The world will get new technologies that will provide better ways of powering our planes and other modes of transportation, and Branson gains great PR immediately and massive profits in the long run.

>>As someone interested in geography I know that most of the world catastrophes in the future will be caused by climate change caused by rising human energy demands - climate change is the biggest challenge facing the world bar none.

Not saying you're wrong. However, being interested in geography seems to be a tenuous qualification for such an absolute statement.

Haven't there been several known episodes of abrupt climate change, the causes of which had nothing to do with human energy demands?

Rather then detouring this thread onto a side tangent, here is the answer to this question:

[nasa.gov ]
[earthobservatory.nasa.gov ]
[giss.nasa.gov ]
[lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov ]
[ipcc.ch ]
[unep.org ]
[newscientist.com ]
[washingtonpost.com ]
[livescience.com ]
[npr.org ]
[roanoke.com ]

A personal carbon footprint calculator can be found at:
[bp.com ]

There is no doubt that our actions (e.g. burning of fossil fuels) is causing a warming trend that is unparalleled in the geologic record.

9:05 am on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the links. My Carbon Footprint Calculator showed me to have a carbon footprint of 9 tonnes per year (though I suspect I may have underestimated how much traveling I do each year).