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Richard Branson, billionaire entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin Group, has become one of the first leading businessmen to make a truly bold call for more climate action after a recent article released on his personal blog, titled, “The risk of doing nothing.”
In it he called on the entire business community to improve their efforts to reduce climate change, claiming that it is an urgent matter that presents a real risk to the world, and a great opportunity for any smart businesses.
Branson stated that the IPCC fifth report update released last month offered a “hard-hitting and consensus-driven message on the science behind climate change” that proved the risk that the world faces from climate change if efforts are not increased to reduce carbon emissions.
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“It’s clearer than ever: climate change is real, humans are the cause, and we have to act. Sometimes the riskiest decision you can make is to do nothing.”
Branson even quoted from the new book by Jeremy Leggett, called The Energy of Nations, saying that “from direct economic shocks caused by changes to the climate system, to a ‘carbon bubble' when climate policy eventually catches up with emitters and forces them to pay for the greenhouse gases they've released. However ‘good' or ‘bad' your business may currently be - everybody has a responsibility to do something about it.”
The strength of the blog in its call for stronger policies and harder decisions from politicians comes as a bit of a surprise from Branson, who notoriously works to avoid party politics. BusinessGreen writes that he has called for a new approach to climate policy to be adopted that promotes competition and entrepreneurship as the key means to boost the development of clean technologies.
“The key to tackling climate change is to see it as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. If you take the telecoms industry as an example, you can see what bringing competition into a market can do. The telecoms market was stagnant, then competition was introduced in the US; the industry quickly transformed because the brightest minds saw the benefits - financial and otherwise - of working in telecoms. 30 years later we've got incredible technology at our fingertips, Twitter planning an IPO and companies like Virgin Mobile expanding across the world. If competition was encouraged in clean fuels, making it more attractive for entrepreneurs and businesses to focus upon tackling climate change, we would see results much sooner.”
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Branson also believes that businesses on their own should feel a strong responsibility to develop and deploy clean technologies and push for a decarbonised economy.
“Fossil energy companies should be investing more and more of their record profits into getting renewable, sustainable energy systems to scale. Agricultural and commodity companies should be working with those looking to restore the Earth's ecosystems and the soils back to their naturally optimised, more productive states. Bright, innovative entrepreneurs and business people should be applying their skills to solving problems like climate change.”
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com