Earlier today on Good Morning America, Virgin CEO Richard Branson, who yesterday pledged $3 billion to invest in alternative energy to combat global warming, appeared alongside Al Gore. Branson explained that he was once a global warming skeptic, but after meeting with scientists, reading books, and talking over breakfast with Gore, he became “convinced that the world has a real serious problem.”
Gore praised Branson for having the “guts” to show such “courage and leaderhip” on the issue. Watch it:
SAWYER: We’re happy to say the man himself, Sir Richard, joins us this morning, along with a man who convinced him to make this pledge, I understand, over breakfast, former Vice President Al Gore. And we’re sure glad to have both of you with us.
This is no question, putting your money where your convictions are. But why do it right now? You’ve been a skeptic in the past about global warming, whether it’s just a cycle or whether it’s real.
BRANSON: Yes. I think, along with quite a few people, if you switched the clock back 10 years, I was skeptical. But now, you know, I’ve met a lot of scientists, I’ve read a lot of books, I’ve had Al Gore spend two hours at my home giving me his personal time to convince me.
And sadly, I’m now convinced that the world has a real serious problem.
SAWYER: So how did you do it at breakfast in just a couple of hours? Guilt?
GORE: No. We just talked about the facts of the situation. You know, all of us have problems absorbing the reality of what we’re facing with this. It’s really a planetary emergency. And it’s sort of hard to talk about that at breakfast time.
But we’ve quadrupled the population of the world in less than 100 years. We have these powerful new technologies. We’re capable of doing things we weren’t capable of doing in the past.
And Sir Richard Branson is the rare individual who captures and commands attention. And he has the guts to do something bold. And a lot of people are going to follow his lead.
And, to your earlier question, a lot of CEOs who have had the guts to make this kind of commitment in the past — none as big as this one — have ended up making money. I hope he ends up making a lot of money. But it’s far from guaranteed. He just is showing courage and leadership.