Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Like a Virgin.... fighting Global Warming.

Contrary to popular clichés, wealthy people are not all Uncle Scrooges. This is particularly true of the very very wealthy who have built their own fortune. Last June, we had a post about Buffet's philanthropic decision to give 85% of his wealth to charities. Bill Gates is also famous for his multi-billion donations to his charitable foundations. (and yet, he remains the richest man in the world!).
Well, Richard Branson (founder and chairman of Virgin) has now announced another philantropic decision - he has committed to spending all the profits from his airline and rail businesses to combat global warming. He has proposed a series of measures that he said, would cut the world's aviation emissions by up to 25%. Apparently, Branson was convinced of the urgency of the situation after watching Al Gore's movie. Whether it works or not, I have a lot of respect for that decision.

Is that a sign that philanthropy is becoming the norm for the very rich?

NOTE: Of course, Branson is a bit of maverick and somewhat a billionaire hippy from the 1960s (after all he admitted to smoking cannabis, and considered selling cannabis in Virgin stores if it were to become legal), but isn't that precisely what makes him unique?
NOTE2: here's a good article on who (and what) is behind the global warming deniers (in The Guardian)

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