Independent on Sunday, 10 January 16 (text in bold not published):
I think Steve Connor is being over-generous to Richard Branson (Our space planes will help save the planet Jan 3) In 2006 Branson met with Al Gore and estimated he would spend 3 billion dollars over the next decade developing biofuels and other carbon saving technologies for the air-line business. Nine years later Branson has invested less than one fifth of that sum and there is no sign of any viable alternative to fossil fuels. Indeed Branson seems to have added significantly to carbon emissions by expanding his airline business, putting 160 additional planes into service, and offering seats at nil cost. Furthermore a study of fuel efficiency amongst 15 US airlines placed Virgin America in ninth place.
Virgin Galactic offers trips into space, another enterprise with a massive carbon footprint and no discernible benefit to mankind. Billionaires like Branson can furbish their green image by offering techno-fixes for climate change, but their real agenda is cheap PR for their carbon-producing businesses.
Dr Robin Russell-Jones