The world’s new emergency - the soaring cost of fuel
- By Richard Branson -
- Mar 29, 2012
The world has a new emergency, which could affect it financially in as serious a way as world wars have done in the past. The emergency is the soaring cost of fuel.
Western countries have sat back placidly letting OPEC grow stronger and stronger and have done nothing to counteract the power of it. We set up the Carbon War Room with the main aim of tackling global warming. Governments need to set up a war room coordinate how we can rapidly move away from conventional oil to clean fuels within three-to-five years. Or else we could face yet another recession hitting us just as we’re getting out of the last one.
During the Second World War incredible things were achieved in a short space of time when both America and Britain put their minds to it. In a financial and environmental sense, the seriousness of this problem is on a similar scale.
We need to set targets way above those Western countries are currently setting. We need targets stating that within 10 years we will be self-sufficient in fuel (preferably clean), whatever it takes. Every department of government, every company and every citizen needs to go all out to make those targets.
Whether it’s wind, whether it’s solar, whether it’s inventing alternative fuels for our vehicles, whether it’s battery power, whatever it is, whatever it takes, we’ve got to become self-sufficient because the supply of oil is so fragile and the cost is so high.
The age of cheap oil is over and we face one of the biggest challenges of our society to switch our economy from a dependence on oil to one that can utilise sustainable fuels efficiently and cost effectively.
If we move quickly whole new industries can be created sustainably. The billions of dollars and pounds that we send overseas will remain in our own countries. The cost of fuel will drop back to reasonable levels and a wonderful bi-product of all this will be the fact that global warming could be averted. But we can’t wait another day.
By Richard Branson. Founder of Virgin Group