Virgin founder Richard Branson has issued a sniffy response to a less-than-flattering tweet from comedian Frankie Boyle.
The billionaire businessman had penned a blog calling for a crackdown on global warming, but was greeted with a less than enthusiastic response from Boyle who pointed out: “You own an airline you mad c**t.”
On Thursday Branson responded to the slight, tweeting: “We all use airlines. Even comedians. Shouldn’t stop any of us trying to address climate change.”
Not amused: Richard Branson
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.
“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.”
Frankie Boyle: Blunt and likes the word 'c**t'
"'Let's manage our emissions" - this from a man that owns an airline," wrote David Waugh. He added: "The number of civil planes in service is currently 20,910, expected to double over the next 20 years to 42,180 ( source - Boeing). As a civilisation over the last 100 years we have consumed half of the known resources on this planet. The truth is that he directly is responsible for some of the global warming that now threatens the Arctic that so concerns him. And lets not talk about the potential climate change that may arise from the widespread use of rocket engines for 'space tourism'."
Matt Jacobs echoed those sentiments: “Just to remind me, is the guy above that is banging on about climate change the same guy that has an airline, a rocket plane, a private island, speed boats, and wants to start space tourism? Just so I'm clear. Thanks."
There was support however from Maria Kristina Sarapik, who wrote: “I agree Mr. Brandson [sic]. Wildlife & nature needs to be protected from stagnated business and blind greed. You are the new age pioneer in business - thank you so much for that! In case you need people for projects, I'm willing to help. Nature is in my heart."
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.”