Virgin on the ridiculous


It’s pretty rich for a private jet-setting celebrity to lecture the plebs about climate change. It’s pretty rich squared for a celebrity billionaire who owns airlines:

Billionaire Sir Richard Branson has likened climate change to World War III and criticised the Australian Government for failing to do more to curb rising greenhouse gas emissions.

The Virgin founder said he is testing new recycled aviation fuel to be used in his planes but that governments needed to do more too.

“It’s going to need the world to take this problem very very seriously,” he told 7.30.

“Let’s pretend this is World War III.

“My feeling is that we need to convene governments and the business sector … on a global basis.

Until such time that Sir Richard’s air fleet starts running on wind or solar power – or hydrogen or nuclear – perhaps a small dose of STFU with breakfast coffee would do Branson some good.

In case you are wondering what “recycled aviation fuel” is, apparently it’s the work of a US-start-up LanzaTech, which provides an “innovative gas fermentation technology to recycle waste carbon produced at steel mills that exits their flue stacks”. Using carbon that otherwise would be released as waste does reduce the amount of carbon-based energy used throughout the economy, but in itself it’s neither clean nor renewable an energy source; it’s a matter of efficiency rather than sustainability. But that’s the privilege of aviation – Branson can pontificate from the position of an industry, which in a foreseeable future will – because it has to – continue to be reliant on fossil fuels, even as other, earth-bound, sectors of the economy might benefit from alternative and renewable sources of energy. Once again, it falls heavily on everyone else to fight Sir Dick’s World War 3, while he’s raking in millions from his oil guzzlers in the sky.