Eliciting gasps and goosebumps at a press conference this morning at the Clinton Global Initiative in midtown Manhattan, Richard Branson, CEO of the mega-conglomerate Virgin Group, announced a commitment to invest a staggering $3 billion toward solving climate change, focusing his investments on developing biofuels and other oil alternatives. The transcript of his public vow follows:
Our generation has inherited a very beautiful world from our parents and we must not be the generation responsible for irreversibly damaging it. We must hand it over in as near pristine a condition as we were leant it by our parents.
To achieve that we have to wean ourselves off a dependence on coal and fossil fuels. Our generation has the knowledge, has the financial resources, and as importantly the willpower to do so. We’re very pleased to be making a commitment to invest 100 percent of all future proceeds to the Virgin Group from our transportation interests — train and airline businesses — into tackling global warming, for an estimated value of $3 billion over ten years. Hopefully this contribution will help in a small way our children experience our beautiful world and encourage others to also do what they can. I’d like to thank President Clinton for enabling me to make this commitment today.
To which Clinton replied, beaming: “Now that’s a commitment! No matter how cynical you are that’s serious money.”