Virgin’s Whitehorn burns with fury

August 10, 2009

If you have tears, prepare to shed them now, for poor old Will Whitehorn. Not only is the government taking no notice of his apocalyptic warnings over falling oil supplies, he complains in the FT that the UK Department of Energy review “ignores not just our conclusions, but our very existence.”

Whitehorn used to be Richard Branson’s bag-carrier, but he’s moved on to greater things in the Virgin empire. He’s also chairman of ITPOES, a frightfully grand-sounding outfit which says, roughly, that we’re all doomed because peak oil is less than four years away.

Oddly, I remember peak oil being just a few years away in the 1970s, during the first oil crisis, but this time, says Whitehorn’s “taskforce” (it sounds so much more businesslike than committee) it’s serious, and we’re all in denial, the way the bankers were before the crisis ovetook them last year.

Well, maybe. Unfortunately, Whitehorn is hardly the man to lecture us about using less energy. His current day job is president of Virgin Galactic, a ridiculous Branson venture which describes itself as the world’s first spaceline. Whatever else it may do, Virgin Galactic is guaranteed to burn an awful lot of fuel.


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