Iconic Dubai projects will go underwater in 50 years, warns Branso

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Dubai, Nov 19 (UNI) The Palm and the World projects, two iconic superluxury developments of the Dubai government extending into the sea, will disappear underwater in 50 years if the issue of climate change fails to be addressed by government.

Sir Richard Branson, while addressing the delegates at day one of the Leaders in Dubai conference, said, ''over the next 50 years, we will see the Palm projects and the World flooded by water and disappear if the issue of climate change is not addressed by global governments,'' the Virgin Group chairman was quoted by the arabianbusiness.com website as saying.

''We are continuing to create this blanket of carbon that is getting thicker and thicker every year and which will ultimately heat up to such an extent that every fish will die and the earth will become uninhabitable.'' Sir Richard has committed three billion dollars of Virgin's own profits to developing clean energy and has offered 25 million dollars to anyone who can eradicate carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Asked whether running an airline and a space tourism company was hypocritical while at the same time championing the need to reverse climate change, Sir Branson said, ''we can either sell our planes to British Airways or Emirates and watch their shareholders reap in the profits or we can carry on and take 100 per cent of our profits and put them into trying to develop a fuel that will change the environment''.

In June 2008, Virgin will launch the world's first biofuel-run Boeing 747 plane, with 20 per cent of the plane's fuel will be made up of biofuels.

Sir Branson warned other Gulf countries that oil reserves were fast depleting and that they should follow the example set by Dubai.

''In five years time, Dubai will run out of oil, but it has diversified its assets and interests enough with 95 per cent of its income derived from tourism, property and music shops,'' he joked.

Other countries in the region should learn from what Dubai has done and they should be aware that conventional fuel will begin to decline in the next five to 10 years, he added.

The charismatic entrepreneur said that "every company" should join the fight against climate change by employing a "green ambassador".

''In West Asia, you have the sun. I can see a time in the future where all countries are powered by the sun and the wind. I have two islands in the Caribbean and next year we'll be come carbon free for the first time. I have asked the Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic government whether we can make them carbon free as well.'' UNI

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