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Branson Says `Unbelievably Painful' Recession Ahead Without Clean Energy

British billionaire Richard Branson predicted an “unbelievably painful” recession if the world doesn’t move more quickly to a clean-energy economy.

“We are going to have the mother of all recessions if we don’t sort out our energy policy fast,” Branson said today at a conference in Cancun, Mexico, where United Nations-led negotiations for a new climate change treaty are taking place.

Oil prices as high as $200 a barrel and lack of government measures to encourage low-emissions energy sources, unemployment in the U.S. could reach 15 percent in five years “without any difficulty,” he said.

Branson is founder of Virgin Group Ltd.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kim Chipman in Washington at kchipman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

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