Sir Richard Branson is one of the world’s most recognized entrepreneurs. But he’s also and activist who’s doing something about climate change.
Since starting youth culture magazine “Student” at aged 16, Sir Richard Branson has found entrepreneurial ways to drive positive change in the world throughout his life.
Conceived in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson as a record label, the Virgin Group has gone on to grow successful businesses in sectors including mobile telephony, travel and transportation, financial services, leisure and entertainment and health and wellness.
Virgin is a leading international investment group and one of the world’s most recognised and respected brands.
In 2004 Richard established Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group, which unites people and entrepreneurial ideas to create opportunities for a better world.
Most of his time is now spent building businesses that will make a positive difference in the world and working with Virgin Unite and organisations it has incubated.
Sir Richard Branson has shared his vision for a Clean Energy Dividend which he hopes will tackle climate change.
Amid scenes of climate change marches around the world, he states his belief that there will be an opportunity to create millions of jobs whilst also driving down the price of fuels in the long term.
I believe there is an extremely simple way to whip climate change and I plan to set it out below.
It’s wonderful to see children all over the world marching today for such an important cause and they are absolutely right that if we don’t implement ideas immediately then their lives and their children’s lives are going to be imperilled.
Many people working on this subject believe the world needs a carbon tax on dirty fuels – coal and oil – to solve the problem.
However, the problem with a carbon tax is that it has so far been impossible to impose without governments falling. The Australian government tried to bring one in and they were kicked out – the new government cancelled it.
In November 2018, the state of Washington voted against a carbon tax for the second time in two years.
Carbon taxes are of course well-intentioned. But others are sceptical that they will raise enough resources to tackle the problem, or if the money will actually even be spent on the issue.
So aside from being unpopular with the companies, carbon taxes are also often unpopular with the public and unpopular with governments. There are really no winners – except ultimately the globe and the environment
So I would like to propose the following: a “Clean Energy Dividend.
Every company in the world should accept a Clean Energy Dividend to be imposed on the fossil fuel they use and the carbon emissions they cause.
The dividend could be the equivalent percentage that a carbon tax would have been, and based on cutting pollution at the rate the climate science shows is necessary.
However, unlike a carbon tax, that money wouldn’t disappear into government coffers, but would be used specifically to be invested in generating clean energy through wind farms and solar panels, as well as the development of more low carbon fuels and other breakthrough technologies.
The companies, through those investments, can get that money back, plus dividends (it would be wise to have some independent governance to make absolutely certain that all companies comply with this remit.)
The good news about this approach is that:
Clean energy will have literally billions poured into it over the next few years – enough money to switch the world from dirty to clean energy.
This is important because what climate change initiatives are still lacking at the moment is major investment.
Companies investing this money should be happy because the investments they make should be secure ones.
“Millions of new jobs will be created through a climate change revolution.” – Sir Richard Branson
The public should be happy because although some fuel prices might increase in the short-term, the competition from clean fuel will rapidly drive prices of both dirty and clean fuel down very quickly and they will stay down forever.
Governments should be happy because the lower fuel prices will result in a great boost to the economy.
Lower fuel prices are politically attractive and politicians will also be able to say that by implementing this, they have made a major move towards getting on top of climate change.
This is a win-win all-round. It’s a win for companies, a win for the people who work in them, a win for the public, a win for creating new jobs, win for governments, and most importantly of all a win for our beautiful globe.