If someone other than Richard Branson had announced that he was waging war on the carbon dioxide molecule, it would probably have seemed a but presumptuous. But we're talking about billionaire Sir Richard Branson, CEO of 360 companies including one which produced the first manned commercial spacecraft. If he's looking into it, it means he sees both a great challenge and a great opportunity.
Branson was in Copenhagen during the climate talks, but unlike many other businessmen who were waiting for their world leaders to take the lead, Branson had already realized what now seems quite obvious — politicians are not going to offer real solutions; instead it will be the private sector.
Market leaders, technologists, financiers and most importantly, local municipalities, were already working collaboratively, rolling up their sleeves to create jobs and build infrastructure that will not only be cleaner and greener, but will also provide energy and wealth security for residents.
Local governments are run more like companies. Their mayors act more like CEO's than other elected officials and they are in closer contact with their constituencies, making them directly accountable for the health and prosperity of the towns over which they preside.
While everything was falling apart at the COP15 talks in Copenhagen, the Mayor's Summit was convened across town, and from what everyone told me, the positive vibe in the room was palpable. It was a sort of collective "aha" moment — the solution to our problems was NEVER going to come from big government, but through a partnership of municipalities with the private sector.
It was at the Mayor's Summit, that Branson announced the Carbon War Room — a groundbreaking organization that brings together entrepreneurism with philanthropy to win the war against climate change. They had their first meeting this week in Vancouver (which I was lucky enough to attend) and I'll be posting up some of the highlights from the event.
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