The Virgin Racing Formula E Team, in conjunction with Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Group, the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and its partners, has today launched an innovative new initiative entitled the Race Against Climate Change (RACC).
The new campaign aims to accelerate the energy transition and help the world achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Accord (COP21), and was unveiled during a special live event held in the Formula E pit lane on the eve of the opening rounds to the new season in Hong Kong.
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Inspired by the success of the team’s recent Innovation Summit in New York, the programme also aims to highlight the growing threat of climate change to an even wider audience through the global appeal of the fully-electric Formula E race series.
This is in addition to the scheme’s new online pledge, created for people to publicly show their support for the cause. Sir Richard Branson become the first to add his signature, which was quickly followed by a host of prominent environmentalists including world-leading climatologist Professor Michael Mann and Fisher Stevens, Director of Before the Flood starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Hosted by TV news correspondent Patrick Fok, the launch featured an address by Virgin Racing’s Team Principal Alex Tai before moving to an informative panel discussion addressing the key climate change issues effecting Asia and beyond. Speakers included Lena Hansen, Managing Director of RMI and Gavin Edwards, Director of Conservation at the World Wildlife Fund. This was followed by a special video message from Sir Richard Branson on his own recent climate change experiences.
Sir Richard Branson said: “As myself and countless others experienced earlier this year, man-made climate change is contributing to increasingly strong hurricanes causing unprecedented damage. The whole world should be scrambling to get on top of the climate change issue before it is too late – for this generation and those to come. No one person, government or business is going to solve this alone. We have to work together. Educating people is the first step to change and that’s where Virgin Racing’s Race Against Climate Change comes in. We want to highlight this campaign to an even wider audience and inspire race fans, those in the city’s we race in, governments and businesses to take positive action.”
Alex Tai said: “As well as being one of the founding and most successful teams in Formula E, we also see ourselves as much more than a race team. We care passionately about our planet which is why we’ve instigated this innovative new programme. Our team’s purpose is to ‘Power Innovation to Positively Impact Lives’, which is part of a broader team vision of using its platform to inform, inspire and deliver sustainable societies. What people have seen here today in Hong Kong is only the start. We have a lot more activity planned through the remainder of this season of Formula E and beyond.”
He added: “We’re very grateful to Sir Richard, the Rocky Mountain Institute and Michael Mann for their support and expertise, and of course Fisher Stevens, who’s film was also an inspiration for the programme.”
Jon Creyts, MD of RMI, said: “Our addiction to fossil fuels puts our planet and the people on it at risk. Tackling such an urgent and enormous challenge can feel daunting. Yet, the climate challenge is not only solvable, but also a huge economic opportunity that can benefit future generations and our own. The energy transition towards renewables, electric vehicles and energy efficiency is accelerating faster than ever before. This gives us hope that the problem can be solved we’re committed.”
Michael Mann said: “One of the greatest challenges in confronting climate change is getting people to recognise that it’s actually happening. It is having adverse impacts on us now, where we live, in profound ways. Initiatives like this help raise awareness to a wider audience. I couldn’t be prouder to be working with Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Racing and our other patterns on this critical outreach effort.”
Fisher Stevens added: “It’s great that my film has helped inspire this programme and I’m pleased to be able to show my support for this worthwhile cause.”