Should the government be doing more to stop climate change?

Richard Branson is a British entrepreneur known for his philanthropic projects and his taste for adventure. He is the founder and chairman of Virgin Group Ltd., a conglomerate of separately run companies which include radio stations, airlines, and mobile phones.  The Virgin Group now owns around 200 companies in over 30 countries.  Virgin also plans to launch commercial space flights over the next few years in a venture called Virgin Galactic.

Branson's involvement in social and environmental projects include the Virgin Green Fund, the Carbon War Room, and the global leader council called The Elders

Branson was born in 1950 in Surrey, England, and was educated at Stowe School, where he established a national magazine, Student, at the age of 16.  He is married with two children and lives in London and Oxfordshire. 

  • Transcript


Richard Branson: Well this is where government comes in. I mean you do need government to set the rules. And you need government that are educated; who read well; who listen to the vast majority of the scientists; who realize that we do have a catastrophe on our hands; and who set the rules.

And if the rules are set properly, then coal companies will have to put their carbon back into the earth’s atmosphere. It’s something that can be done. It is actually the coal, fire-producing power stations that are doing the most damage in the world. And even if there’s an earthquake one day and some of that carbon’s released, it will give us time to come up with ways of getting the carbon out of the earth’s atmosphere, and maybe ways of coming up with clean fuels.

So governments need to set the rules. Governments should say to all the petrol stations, they need to have an ethanol plant in every petrol station. Or at least one in every three petrol stations.

Governments need to say that every five years, the amount of the use of clean fuels must go up by, say, 10 percent every few years. So that these things need to be mandated to force it through.

Brazil, 75 percent of their cars are now run on clean fuels. It can be done. It’s not that difficult a thing to do.

Instead interestingly, America forbids the importation of sugar. There is sugar awash in the world. Sugar produces clean fuels six times more efficiently than corn. Every single car in America could be running on sugar-based ethanol, and no carbon emissions going out whatsoever.

The whole of Europe could be run on sugar-based ethanol. In fact, most likely it would be butanol because it’s more powerful than ethanol, but that needs to be developed.

So instead of being counterproductive to global warming, they need to be productive.

Recorded on: July 5, 2007