Branson and the climate crisis: What would Winston do?

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British multi-entrepreneur and TEDster Richard Branson (watch his TEDtalk) may be in a pretty bad business when it comes to pollution — airlines, among others — but he is an eco-convert.

On Tuesday he told the Global Humanitarian Forum‘s first gathering in Geneva, Switzerland, that he favors “polluter-pay” policies and that the climate crisis should be treated as seriously as “a third world war”. He added that an appropriate response could be inspired by what Winston Churchill did during WW2: “we need a war room” to tackle the environmental issue, Branson said.

The Geneva-based GHF, headed by former UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan, has focused this first meeting on the human impacts of global warming, particularly on poor countries.

During a panel, according to news site Swisster, Branson said that he supported establishing a floor for fuel prices and favored a carbon tax. Such measures would “put a useful dampener on some of the (airline industry’s) expansion”. He added: “As far as polluters paying, definitely, I think they should”, noting that those in a “dirty business” should “pay for the privilege.”

Photo of Winston Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms courtesy TranceMist via flickr