Branson makes $3bn climate pledge

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Mojo

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BBCNews said:
Sir Richard Branson is to donate $3bn (£1.6bn) to fight global warning.

The Virgin boss said he would give all profits from his travel firms, such as airline Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Trains, over the next 10 years.

One of the UK's best known entrepreneurs, he made the announcement at a news conference in New York.

Worth an estimated £3bn, Sir Richard started his career in the record industry before moving into everything from mobile phones to credit cards.
 
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Dennis

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There are a few things which bother me about Sir Beards plans;

Given that fuel costs and taxes on air travel are likely to increase and that Virgin trains isn't making much money, where did the figure £1.6 billion come from? A little over-optimistic on the profits forecast perhaps.

Secondly, while biofuels are a great idea in principle I don't think enough thought is being given where they are going to be produced. The two biofuels I saw mentioned on the telly reports were vegetable oil derived and ethanol from sugar. Where will these be grown?

At the moment, the most common source of biodiesel is rapeseed oil. Biofuels make up a very small, probably negligible, proportion of fuel currently used in the transportation industry. Thinking that most rapeseed oil is currently used for cooking purposes, the average European probably downs no more than one litre of this per week. Motorists typically get through 10 or more litres of fuel per week so a huge increase in the amount of rapeseed (or other oil producing plants) being grown will be necessary. Where will this happen - not forgetting we need to grow food.

Regarding the use of ethanol, this is common in parts of South America (especially Brazil), where it is obtained from sugarcane. The whole process is quite inefficient (being fermented and distilled). In Europe, the source of ethanol would need to be either sugar beet or grain, again where will this be grown, considering the quantities needed and what will be the environmental impacts of the CO2 formed during fermentation and is energy recovery from the residues possible.

As an an aside, anyone know if bagasse fuelled steam engines are still used in sugar growing regions?
 

CallySleeper

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There are a few things which bother me about Sir Beards plans;

Given that fuel costs and taxes on air travel are likely to increase and that Virgin trains isn't making much money, where did the figure £1.6 billion come from? A little over-optimistic on the profits forecast perhaps.
I think the £1.6billion is money Sir B already has - so not going on future profits but also not forgetting that this isn't just profits from his trains (are VT really making that little money?)
 
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