Saviour of the planet - or a space-hopping hypocrite?
Friday 09 February 2007
The latest "green" offering by Sir Richard Branson has much to commend it. If scientists can devise a sustainable and cheap way of capturing and storing the CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere, it could amount to a huge breakthrough in tackling climate change.
However, this initiative by Sir Richard has to be seen in the wider context of what else he is doing to encourage the profligate use of fossil fuel - such as generating a new market for space tourism where none yet exists. Almost everyone today uses airlines at some time to get from one place to another. But what is the use of a trip that takes you nowhere but 70 miles above ground - with the "space" bit of the ride lasting just a couple of minutes?
Virgin Galactica, the company set up by Sir Richard to offer trips in space, estimates that there are 3,000 people in the world who are rich enough and keen enough to spend £100,000 on a ticket. The first flights are scheduled for 2009, but Sir Richard says he wants to bring down the price so that all of us can go into space. Virgin Galactica's publicity extols the virtues of the "howl of rocket motors" and "eye-watering" acceleration. It even describes the 90-second view from the aircraft: "The incredibly narrow ribbon of atmosphere looks worryingly fragile. What you are looking at is the source of everything it means to be human." There is no mention, however, that for a 90-second thrill, space tourists will have produced a carbon footprint many times bigger than the equivalent 90 seconds spent on a transatlantic jet - not to mention other modes of transport.
Sir Richard says that he wants to make a difference. He says he wants to use his influence and wealth to leave a better world for our children and our children's children. The prize he is announcing today to capture and store man-made CO2 is a commendable gesture in that direction. But how does he square that with his desire to turn us all into an army of carbon-crazed space cadets?
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
The magicians using online collaboration to push boundaries
lifeIt takes year-long dedication to get Selfridges ready for 25 December. And they're already working on plans for 2015...
Jennifer Lawrence attacks mass media again over body image
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Ian Watkins: Paedophile Lostprophets singer sentenced to 35 years for child sex offences, as judge labels him a 'dangerous sexual predator'
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber announces he's 'retiring from music'
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Ethan Couch: Texas quadruple murderer – or a victim of ‘affluenza’?
- < Previous
- Next >
£25000 - £32000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Business Analyst - Banking...
£21999 - £27001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have exten...
£25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Business Analy...
£42000 - £51000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Are You Receiving...