Fwd: Branson Says Oil Might Hit $200 a Barrel Without New Policies

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Branson Says Oil Might Hit $200 a Barrel Without New Policies
2010-12-05 06:15:44.685 GMT

By Kim Chipman
Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Oil prices may soar to $200 a barrel
if the world doesn't move more rapidly to a clean-energy economy,
Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., said
in an interview.
"It's certainly conceivable unless we can start to
conserve energy quickly and come up with alternative fuels,"
Branson said yesterday in Cancun, Mexico, where countries are
meeting to negotiate a new accord to combat climate change.
Branson predicts an "unbelievably painful" economic slump
if governments don't do more to encourage renewable energy as an
alternative to fossil fuels such as oil. In the U.S., where
efforts to cap carbon-dioxide emissions failed in the Senate
earlier this year, unemployment could reach record highs, the
British billionaire said.
"We are going to have the mother of all recessions if we
don't sort out our energy policy fast," Branson said earlier
yesterday at the World Climate Summit in Cancun. "We think
we've got it bad today. In five years time unemployment could go
to 15 percent without any difficulty at all in America."
Branson, 60, spoke alongside U.S. billionaire Ted Turner,
founder of Cable News Network. Branson and Turner, 72, also will
speak tomorrow at the two-day conference focused on how
businesses can help combat climate change.

Balking on Kyoto

Meanwhile, negotiators from about 190 countries are
grappling with how to proceed in United Nations-led treaty talks
to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. Industrialized and developing
nations are divided over the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
Japan, Russia and Canada have refused to sign up for a
second round of emissions reductions once the current ones
written into Kyoto expire in 2012.
Emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil are
"completely unanimous" in their position that developed
countries must agree on a new commitment period, UN climate
chief Christiana Figueres said yesterday. Discord over Kyoto
threatens to take attention away from talks for a new global
climate agreement that includes the U.S., she said. The U.S. is
the only developed nation not part of Kyoto.
Turner urged countries to reach agreement.
"Let's do it," he said. "Let's do it now before it's too

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--Editors: Jim McDonald, Michael Heath

To contact the reporter on this story:
Kim Chipman in Washington at +1-202-624-1927 or

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at +44-20-7330-7862 or