Richard Branson, left, with former US vice-president Al Gore, in London, UK. Photo: Kieran Doherty / Reuters

By Suzanne Goldenberg   
13 September 2014

( – Richard Branson has failed to deliver on his much-vaunted pledge to spend $3bn (£1.8bn) over a decade to develop a low carbon fuel.

Seven years into the pledge, Branson has paid out only a small fraction of the promised money – “well under $300m” – according to a new book by the writer and activist, Naomi Klein.

The British entrepreneur famously promised to divert a share of the profits from his Virgin airlines empire to find a cleaner fuel, after a 2006 private meeting with Al Gore.

Branson went on to found a $25m Earth prize for a technology that could safely suck 1bn tons of carbon a year from the atmosphere. In 2009, he set up the Carbon War Room, an NGO which works on business solutions for climate change.

But by Klein’s estimate, Branson’s “firm commitment” of $3bn failed to materialise.

“So the sceptics might be right: Branson’s various climate adventures may indeed prove to have all been a spectacle, a Virgin production, with everyone’s favourite bearded billionaire playing the part of planetary saviour to build his brand, land on late night TV, fend off regulators, and feel good about doing bad,” Klein writes in This Changes Everything, Capitalism vs The Climate.

Klein uses Branson and other so-called green billionaires – such as the former New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg – as case studies for her argument that it is unrealistic to rely on business to find solutions to climate change.

Branson routed a first pay-out of his $3bn commitment, about $130m, through a new Virgin investment company into corn ethanol.

The fuel has now been widely discredited as a greener alternative to fossil fuels, because of its climate change impacts and for driving up the cost of food. [more]

Richard Branson failed to deliver on $3bn climate change pledge


  1. neal said...

    Never pretended to throw money at it. Just people, praying, does not take much. Balance, and such.

    Of course, if there was in money in that, then the rains and winds and snows and such would not participate.

    Kind of a one way shakedown. Just reality, and behavior.

    Of course, looks kind of goofy when one talks to stuff like that, and there is a response. Seems rather normal, just all about the money, these days.  

  2. Anonymous said...

    Well, you don't get to be a BILLIONAIRRE by:

    a) keeping your word;
    b) playing 'nice' to the planet.

    So this is just a rerun of all that we have seen before - and will see again.

    Funny, how poor people are the only ones that care.

    About anything.

    Fuck humanity.  

  3. Anonymous said...

    "Funny, how poor people are the only ones that care." Poor people tend to be bored, and stupid. As a result they feel powerless, and are usually the people who get involved in futile causes/protests etc.  


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