Virgin founder Richard Branson responded to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on his blog.
“It’s clearer than ever,” he says. “Climate change is real, humans are the cause, and we have to act. Sometimes the riskiest decision you can make is to do nothing.”
The IPCC report states, “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased.”
It goes on to say, “The atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years.”
The 63-year-old business mogul believes competition in the clean fuels market is the solution. “The key to tackling climate change is to see it as an opportunity rather than an obstacle,” he said.
“Fossil energy companies should be investing more and more of their record profits into getting renewable, sustainable energy systems to scale. Agricultural and commodity companies should be working with those looking to restore the Earth’s ecosystems and the soils back to their naturally optimized, more productive states. Bright, innovative entrepreneurs and business people should be applying their skills to solving problems like climate change.”
Branson believes “everybody has a responsibility to do something about it.”
“Everyone can still do more,” he says. Everybody out there needs to reduce their own personal impact, and that includes yours truly. But we also need to spread the message to politicians, employers, businesses, media, friends and family. Governments need to have the integrity, courage and determination to negotiate internationally binding agreements to cut emissions.”
Branson also founded the Carbon War Room, a non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate the “adoption of business solutions that reduce carbon emissions at gigaton scale and advance the low-carbon economy.” They are “working to reduce emissions in industries ranging from shipping to building, as well as bringing 10 island economies onto 100% renewable energy,” said Branson.
“Virgin are doing all we can within and beyond our businesses to tackle these problems, as are some other companies,” he said. “But many organizations and individuals haven’t even started; or they still have their heads buried in the sand. What are you going to do?”