This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

October 04, 2006

Branson Commits $3 Billion to Renewable Energy and Pledges to Cut Aviation Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin records, pledged in late September to invest $3 billion in renewable energy over the next decade. Branson made the pledge as part of the Clinton Global Initiative, a non-partisan fundraising effort that focuses in part on energy and climate change. Branson committed all future proceeds of the Virgin Group's transportation interests (namely, airplanes and trains) to be invested into renewable energy, beginning with biofuels. The Virgin Group has already committed to investing $400 million over the next three years in Virgin Fuels, its new biofuels company. The company will also invest in research and development of new biofuels suitable for both ground and air transportation. See the details on Branson's commitment on the Clinton Global Initiative Web site.

On September 27th, Branson followed the pledge with a call to cut carbon emissions from aviation by 25 percent. As chairman of Virgin Atlantic, Branson has written to airlines, aircraft manufacturers, and airport operators, urging them to work together to address the greenhouse gas impacts of the airline industry. Branson proposed a number of approaches, such as reducing the weight of aircraft, towing aircraft closer to the runway to conserve fuel, and bringing planes down from cruising altitude in a slow, gradual descent to save fuel. See the Virgin Atlantic press release.