Branson had tweeted a blog calling for a crackdown on global warming entitled: “It’s time for bold leadership and conservation for the Arctic.”
In typically blunt fashion, Boyle replied: “You own an airline you mad c**t”.
At time of publication, Branson had not responded to Boyle's comment and the Virgin office said it did not plan to either.
The blog in question expresses concern over low levels of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean and Branson’s opinion there is an “urgent need” to create a network of marine protected areas to keep oil development, commercial fishing, massive tanker traffic and seabed mining out of key habitats.
He writes: “The next UN climate conference takes place in December, and we hope it will produce a new globally binding deal to limit escalating greenhouse gas emissions. My fellow B Team leaders and I have called for an ambitious goal of net zero global carbon emissions by 2050 in the face of this grave challenge.
@richardbranson You own an airline you mad cunt— Frankie Boyle (@frankieboyle) April 1, 2015
“Let’s not fail the Arctic. Let’s say no to drilling. Let’s manage our emissions. Let’s create a robust network of marine protected areas free of commercial activities. Without safeguards, the consequences will be profound, and the ripple effects untold.”
As well as Boyle, some commenters also called Branson out directly on the blog, particularly over his recent talk of a commercial space tourism company.
Joemaryellen Rieger said: “Let’s start getting things done on this planet Earth first and then worry about how one will survive on Mars.”
“Aha! Interesting post indeed!” wrote Alexandre Legris, adding: “’Let’s not fail the Arctic, let’s manage our emmissions’ says he who is building spaceships with special rocket fuels…”
Trish Reid echoed those sentiments: “Seems to me that space exploration should be halted and those trillions invested in the renewal of our planet earth.”
There was support however from Kitty Adams, who wrote: “Thank you Sir Richard for putting people before profit. One love people never gonna stop!”
While Boyle was clearly drawing attention to the irony of a magnate with an empire of trains, planes and more taking a stance on the damage caused by fuel emissions, Branson has spoken at length about his commitment to the environment.
In 2006 the “green billionaire” famously promised to divert a share of the profits from his Virgin airlines empire to find a cleaner fuel after a private meeting with Al Gore.
He went on to found a $25m Earth Prize for a technology that could safely ingest 1bn tonnes of carbon a year from the atmosphere and in 2009 set up the Carbon War Room, which aims to “accelerate the adoption of business solutions that reduce carbon emissions at gigaton scale and advance the low-carbon economy.”