Monday 30th November, 2009

The Blair witch project

Image courtesy Robert Scoble, flickr

Tony Blair’s appointment as a climate change advisor to a U.S. venture capital firm has been met with cynicism by the British press.

Blair will act as senior public policy advisor for the green portfolio of Khosla Ventures – a firm that invests in companies pursuing green technologies. There has been much speculation about how much Blair will be paid for his services to the company, with the Daily Mail claiming the amount would be nothing less than a million dollars (£700,000).

‘Another $1m pay day for Blair as the former PM lands a job as a climate change guru’ read the Mail’s vitriolic headline. The scepticism from the media is largely based on recent reports that Blair told friends that he needed to earn at least £5 million a year to support his lifestyle.

The Guardian mentions Blair’s £400,000 fee for public speeches in their article about the appointment while the Telegraph talks about his lucrative consultancy posts with JP Morgan Chase and Zurich Financial, saying that he has earned an estimated £15 million since leaving office two years ago.

The sardonic tone taken by the media over the former PM’s new avatar as a green economy advocate could threaten the work he is attempting to do. Blair is currently working with Climate Group – a not-for-profit group dedicated to bringing businesses together to tackle climate change. He has been speaking to several international leaders and politicians to try to form a broad coalition for action on the climate. Amongst his various initiatives, he has stressed the ability to cut costs by using green technologies.

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