His comments came at the start of a two-day UN General Assembly debate to generate support for a new treaty to fight global warming by 2009. Sir Richard said climate change was "the quietest, most sinister, most deadly threat of all" and said there was "no excuse for inaction, no excuse for ignorance". "To turn a blind eye in the 21st century is unforgivable," he said.
He said a politically-independent "war room" was needed to combine "entrepreneurial muscle, the best possible data and the power to mobilise resources and influence policy".
"History has taught us that in times of peril, when all seems lost, bringing together the greatest minds of a nation to work together, with one common goal - survival - is the most effective way to prevail," he said.Photo of Sir Richard Branson from NASA, Wikimedia Commons