Branson on a Roll

It’s hard to admit my admiration for Richard Branson, because in many respects he seems like an overgrown schoolboy that never grew up and spends his time faffing about in hot air balloons, but he’s definitely been on a roll lately…

Last week he pledged that all the profits of his transport businesses for the next 10 years — a sum estimated to be about $3 billion — would be invested in schemes to fight global warming through the development of renewable energy technologies.

This week he called for greener airlines, and announced a simple idea to reduce the air pollution caused by aircraft on the ground at airports — instead of leaving the engines running for 60 – 90 minutes as the planes are loaded and then using them to power the planes to the runway, he suggested using tugs (the powerful little trucks that pull and push planes to and from from the gates) to tow them all the way to a “starting grid” near the runway, and only fire up the engines 10 minutes before take off.

It’s such a simple idea, but Branson claims it could save “billions of tonnes” of carbon dioxide emissions every year.

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