Monday, February 11, 2008

Branson calls for 'environmental war room'

Press Association: Sir Richard Branson has called for an "environmental war room" and urged the world's 20 wealthiest nations to contribute more than £12 million each to help tackle climate change. Speaking at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Sir Richard said Virgin has put up a 25 million dollar (£12.5 million) prize to encourage scientists and inventors to put their mind to climate change - and called for the 20 wealthiest nations to do the same to create the largest scientific prize ever.

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

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