Richard Branson: Global warming deniers ‘get out of our way’

Daily Caller

Virgin CEO Richard Branson said that those who are skeptical of man-made global warming should “get out of our way,” joining the ranks of CEOs lashing out against those opposed to business investments in “sustainability.”

Branson made his remarks in the wake of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s telling global warming skeptics to “get out of this stock” if they did not agree with the company’s green investment strategy. Cook made his comments after being confronted by a free-market activist who pressed him on putting the environment ahead of profitable investments.

“If you want me to do things only for [return on investment] reasons, you should get out of this stock,” Cook told a representative of the National Center for Public Policy Research.

Branson said that more businesses should follow Apple’s example and fight back against global warming skepticism.

“Tim [Cook] took a crucial stand: he told shareholders who oppose Apple’s commitment to sustainability to ‘get out of the stock’,” Branson wrote on his blog. “He also commented on how doing business sustainably can actually improve the bottom line. This is something we strongly believe in at The B Team, which is working hard to encourage better ways of doing business for the wellbeing of people and the planet. We wholeheartedly support him.”

“More businesses should be following Apple’s stance in encouraging more investment in sustainability,” Branson said. “While Tim told sustainability sceptics to ‘get out of our stock’, I would urge climate change deniers to get out of our way.”

Branson has been a huge proponent of renewable energy development. Recently, the business mogul launched plans to turn the Caribbean into a green energy powerhouse. The plan is to get islands of off use diesel generators as a main power source and onto renewable energy sources like solar and wind.

In February, Branson hosted a summit of “financiers, politicians, energy companies, lawyers and others on Moskito and Necker to work up a plan to ‘green’ the Caribbean, island by island,” reports the UK Guardian.

“Five prime ministers and 12 governments, as well as international bankers and investors, heard renewable energy experts explain how the region’s islands, which currently generate nearly all their electricity from diesel, could save hundreds of millions of dollars a year and reduce emissions by 50% or more,” the Guardian noted.

Branson’s company Virgin even has an investment fund that specializes in green investments. The Virgin Green Fund is a “leading, independent mid-cap buy-out and growth private equity firm investing capital in the resource efficiency, consumer sustainability, and renewable energy sectors in North America and Europe.”

It was reported that the company had investments in the Obama administration-back solar company Solyndra, which filed for bankruptcy in 2011 after receiving a $535 million government-backed loan guarantee.

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Democrats plan all-night ‘talkathon’ on climate change

USA Toady

WASHINGTON—Just don’t call it a filibuster.

A majority of Senate Democrats on Monday will launch an overnight “talkathon” until approximately 9:00 a.m. Tuesday to draw attention to climate change.

The overnight effort, organized by Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, is part of the recently launched Senate Climate Action Task Force headed by Sens. Barbara Boxer of California and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

In a statement, Boxer said Democrats want to “wake up Congress” to the dangers of climate change.

The marathon session is not technically a filibuster in part because there is no legislation under debate, but overnight sessions are rare and likely to draw media attention to the topic — which is precisely the goal.

The most recent overnight “talkathon” session was led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, last September in an unsuccessful but highly public effort to block a stopgap spending bill.

The Democratic effort is cause for some confusion because these senators are calling for action in a chamber they control but without any specific legislation to offer up for a vote, or any timetable for action this year.

Whitehouse spokesman Seth Larson said the overnight event is “just one of a number of steps that the Senate Climate Action Task Force will be taking this year, and we hope it will help get more Americans engaged in the important debate about how we can act on climate change.”

The issue of climate change is politically volatile, and Congress has shied away from serious legislative efforts since 2010, when House Democrats narrowly approved a bill to cap carbon emissions. That bill was ultimately viewed as contributing to the party’s electoral losses that year. Senate Democrats never took it up.

Democrats have 28 senators scheduled to speak through Monday night, but some of the party’s most vulnerable senators facing re-election this year—Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Kay Hagan of North Carolina—are notably missing from the lineup.

Kerry urges US envoys to make climate change a priority

Source:AFP

Washington (AFP) – US Secretary of State John Kerry has called on American ambassadors around the world to make the fight against climate change a top priority ahead of new UN talks next year.

In his first department-wide policy guidance statement since taking office a year ago, he told his 70,000 staff: “The environment has been one of the central causes of my life.”

“Protecting our environment and meeting the challenge of global climate change is a critical mission for me as our country’s top diplomat,” Kerry said in the letter issued on Friday to all 275 US embassies and across the State Department.

“It’s also a critical mission for all of you: our brave men and women on the frontlines of direct diplomacy,” he added in the document seen by AFP.

He urged all “chiefs of mission to make climate change a priority for all relevant personnel and to promote concerted action at posts and in host countries to address this problem.”

The clarion call comes ahead of key UN-led talks in Paris next year when the international community is due to try to set new emissions goals for greenhouses blamed for global warming.

The emission levels will be applicable to all countries, not just the developed world, and will come into effect in 2020.

The new agreement will replace the Kyoto treaty which is due to expire in 2015.

The United States, which along with China is the world’s top polluter, did not ratify the Kyoto Treaty arguing that developing countries should also be obligated to cut greenhouse gases.

Kerry travelled to China last month and won agreement from Beijing that the US and China would cooperate closely ahead of the Paris talks as they aim to agree emissions targets.

In his policy guidance, Kerry set out a seven step program to enhance the focus on tackling climate change including boosting multilateral and bilateral efforts.

“We’re talking about the future of our earth and of humanity. We need to elevate the environment in everything we do,” he said.

It was, he said “our call to conscience as citizens of this fragile planet we inhabit.”

Kerry is currently weighing a decision on whether the US should approve the building of a pipeline carrying oil from the tar sands of Alberta, in Canada, to US refineries in Nebraska and then Texas.

An environmental review found that the Keystone XL project would not add significantly to greenhouse gas emissions.

But opponents are calling on Kerry to reject the proposals by Canadian operators TransCanada, and a small but noisy protest was held late Thursday outside the State Department.