Branson pledges $3 billion over the next 10 years to fight global warming
According to the government's formula, each kilometre travelled by an airline passenger on a long-haul flight accounts for 0.11kg of carbon dioxide. The Guardian calculated that offsetting Virgin Atlantic's entire annual flight operation would involve planting 59m trees.
The commitment follows last week's announcement by Sir Richard of a new Virgin Fuels business which will invest up to $400m in renewable energy initiatives over the next three years.
The first deal will see Sir Richard backing California-based Cilion which was formed in June to make bioethanol from corn. Virgin's Gaia Capitalism project already stretches across the firm, ranging from biodiesel for its trains to experiments with environmentally friendly fuels for its putative space programme, Virgin Galactic.
Biofuels from switchgrass. The net energy output of switchgrass is about 20 times better than corn's. About 1150 gallons of ethanol could be made on every acre using switchgrass.