Naomi Klein v Richard Branson on Virgin climate pledge

A decade ago, Richard Branson promised to pay £3 billion from his airlines and transport companies into green solutions to combat CO2 emissions.

So what happened, er not a lot.

A lot of media publicity at the time, but nothing has happened.

The excuse of Richard Branson is that it has been a tough time for airlines, we have seen a global recession.

And yet over that period, rather than investing any money in combating CO2 emissions, he has ploughed it into massively expanding his airline businesses, such that their CO2 emission have risen by 40%.

His latest acquisition is the East Coast Mainline, which is running perfectly well in the public sector. He will have a 10% share, Stagecoach the other 90%.

Leaving climate solutions to billionaires, however well meaning, is not the answer.

But at least Richard Branson has pointed us in the right direction, the industries that are the heaviest CO2 polluters, airlines, coal, oil, car industry, should be heavily taxed on the Polluter Shall Pay principle, and the money raised going into green solutions.

We cannot rely on philanthropic billionaires, whose instinct is to accrue more money. It is like with the tax dodders, Starbucks, Google, Amazon, contribution cannot be like a charitable donation, voluntary.

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