Abstract painting of subject, generated by DALL-E 2

Environmental showboating

18 Feb 2007 - Bruno Prior

Richard Branson is going to create an "environmental showcase for the world" on the Caribbean island of Moskito. He "wants to transform Moskito into the world’s first carbon-neutral holiday resort, complete with wind power, recycling and Balinese-style huts for eco-friendly families."

How are these eco-friendly families going to get there? What are they going to do with the recyclate? What happens when the wind isn't blowing hard enough (which is a lot of the time on the British Virgin Islands)?

This follows his recent initiative, offering £25 million to the first person to work out how to "rid the atmosphere of greenhouse gases". "They are looking for a way to remove at least one billion tonnes of carbon per year from the atmosphere" report the BBC. That means the prize is worth £1 per 40 tonnes in year one, if it can be made to run at no cost thereafter. The real cost of carbon is not known, but is probably many pounds per tonne. And as we are emitting several billion tonnes of carbon more than the earth can absorb each year, even such a grand plan will not "rid the atmosphere of greenhouse gases" or remove the need to make the tougher savings. But Branson's OK - he is not in any significant danger of having to pay out, but he gets lots of publicity and "green kudos" from a sycophantic media and ignorant public.

Michael O'Leary of RyanAir takes a lot of flak, some of it deserved, for his resistance to constraining the availability of cheap flights. But at least he talks about rational things like the energy-efficiency of planes, their occupancy levels, the amount of time engines are idling, and the balance of people's preferences. Branson is all mouth and no trousers.

Organisations: Virgin

Copyright © 2023 Picking Losers