"Global Cool" Asks 1 Billion People to Save Planet
Author: Gerard Wynn
Launched on Tuesday in London's British Museum, surrounded by the wrecks of past civilisations, the charity is using a mix of entertainment industry glitz and communication technology to mobilise a modern lifestyle change to arrest global warming.
"It's becoming really quite uncool not to be involved (in climate change)," said Scottish singer KT Tunstall, supporting the launch.
"We're trying to create a brand, an aspirational lifestyle," said Dan Morrell, Global Cool founder, who formerly helped set up the CarbonNeutral Company, which allows people to pay others to cut greenhouse gas emissions through so-called offsetting.
Morrell dismissed carbon offsetting on its own as a weapon to tackle climate change -- "Messing around with tiny offsets isn't the answer," he said.
Over the next 10 years he hopes to motivate up to one billion people to get into the often routine business of saving energy and so cutting carbon emissions, by such means as turning off televisions and mobile phone rechargers.
Global Cool also wants to invest up to 1 billion pounds (US$1.97 billion) of their money in up to 100 million tonnes of offsets -- each equal to 1 tonne of carbon emissions cuts.
His charity reels off a list of A-list names in music and film who it says are helping communicate its message -- although not present at the launch -- including Leonardo Di Caprio, Orlando Bloom and Daryl Hannah.
To spread the message it has formed a partnership with News Corp.'s online networking site, MySpace, and the music magazine NME.
"The Global Cool movement coincides with a massive tipping point in media and communications," said the head of media for the charity, Richard Kilgarriff.
Carbon offsetting involves paying others to cut emissions by helping to build wind farms in developing contries, for example.
Global Cool would only spend its donors' funds in a regulated market for such offsets, for example under the Kyoto Protocol on global warming in a market overseen by the United Nations.
Specialist bank Climate Change Capital (CCC) is one big player in the market -- which is also attracting big bank investors -- saying it holds over 50 million tonnes of carbon credits, and is one potential seller to Global Cool.
CCC Vice-Chairman James Cameron said there was no conflict of interest with his being chair of the Global Cool Foundation that would invest the charity's funds.
"Climate Change Capital will be a place to go (to buy credits)," Cameron told Reuters.
"I'd be very careful to make a distinction between CCC interests and my role in the Foundation," he said, adding that an independent third party would make Global Cool's carbon credit purchases.
To arrest climate change the world needs to cut its annual emissions by 7 billion tonnes of carbon and Global Cool could achieve up to 1 billion tonnes of that, said Tariq Ali, research director at Imperial College, supporting the launch.