Clinton tells Stewart that people like the event because "we're actually doing something."
The biggest doings so far came with yesterday's announcement by Virgin Atlantic mogul, Sir Richard Branson, that he would commit roughly $3 billion over ten years to alternative fuels research. The Times puts that figure in perspective, noting that:
In February, President Bush announced a bio-fuels initiative for 2007 of $150 million, nearly a 60 percent increase over spending on such fuels in the previous budget.The paper of record also quotes billionaire philanthropist Ted Turner, who calls Branson's move "brilliant," and not just as a selfless gesture. Said Turner: "He'll probably make more money off of this than he would off the airlines themselves."
The overall United States budget for research in renewable energy sources like wind, solar, hydrogen and farmed fuels is a bit over $1 billion a year, but that amount is far less than what was spent during the oil shock of the 1970s.
MSNBC sounded a similar note yesterday, observing that, "Left unsaid was the possibility that some renewable energy investments could pay off handsomely for Branson and his company should they become accepted by industry and consumers."
As to what prompted Branson to make the commitment, Branson tells the New York Times that it was sparked by a personal visit from former Vice President Al Gore. According to Branson, Gore told him: "You are in a position maybe to make a difference. If you can make a giant step forward other people will follow." Sounds like the definition of 'global initiative,' doesn't it?