On Friday the 9th of February, 2007, like the King announcing a Royal Competition, open to any man across the Kingdom who can catch and slay the mystery beast who has been terrorizing the villagers and slaying the livestock, flamboyant English entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson announced a $25 million U.S. dollar prize to any individual or group who can come up with a method of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by one billion tons per year for ten years.
Accompanied at his press conference by Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States and Crispin Tickell - a former British diplomat - they announced the selected competition judges as being acclaimed Australian scientist and environmentalist Tim Flannery, Crispin Tickell, noted U.S. climate scientist James Hansen and British expert James Lovelock and lastly Sir Richard himself.
The duration of the contest is five years, but the panel may extend the offer if no viable ideas are accepted. The prize if awarded would provide five million at the beginning of the project and the balance at the end of the project. The prize is intended for new ideas not currently in development like technologies that capture and store carbon dioxide from gross emitters like coal-fired electricity plants, according to the International Herald Tribune.
Not even having received a high-school diploma - his school Principalâ€™s prophecy being â€œYou are either going to end up in jail or a millionaireâ€ - Sir Richard Branson, was ranked 9th on the Sunday Times (the U.K.â€™s sister paper to the Times) 2006 Rich List, worth just over Â£3 billion British Pounds.
Blessed with a completely natural instinct for the making of money and good business acumen, this famed British entrepreneur/ adventurer (in January 1991 crossing the Pacific Ocean from Japan to Arctic Canada, 6,700 miles - the furthest distance ever traveled in a hot-air balloon and at speeds of up to 245 miles per hour in a balloon of 2.6 million cubic feet) and employer of unorthodox and innovative business methods, has built a good reputation for himself as the forward-thinking, young, fun, risk-taking hippy-capitalist (certainly not all of his crazy schemes have panned out) who sees opportunity where otherâ€™s see disaster. The very accessible founder of Virgin Group has business interests on six continents, including airlines, express trains, and limousine services, he is the self-made, success story of American Dream proportions.
So when Sir Richard Branson announced last October, plans to invest US$3 billion of Virgin's profits over 10 years to fight global warming, it should have come as no surprise to anyone. In an interview with CNN Money, he said, â€œI used to be skeptical of global warming, but now I'm absolutely convinced that the world is spiraling out of control. CO2 is like a bushfire that gets bigger and bigger every year.â€ He says he is propelled by a combination of a feeling of duty â€“ his companies and business endeavors being a contributing factor to global warming - and simply smart business to get in now on the alternate-fuel game. The Virgin Group chairman said the money would be spent on renewable energy initiatives within his company and on investments in bio-fuel research, development, production and distribution, as well as projects to tackle emissions contributing to global warming.
Could Virgin Fuel be the next big business?
Copyright © 2010 V
The Last King of England?
Copyright © 2010 V
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