Prince Charles is facing charges of being a green hypocrite once again, after he used a total of 200 gallons of aviation fuel, as opposed to four gallons of gasoline, to make an 80-mile journey by helicopter, just days after urging people to save energy by turning off their lights.
The prince and his wife, Camilla, flew from their country home of Highgrove to Ascot racecourse on Sunday instead of going by car—just two days after Charles recorded a video message urging people to switch off their lights in support of Earth Hour.
The environmentalist and writer George Monbiot told The Royalist, “It’s pretty disappointing. If you advocate green causes, you should try to live by your principles. It’s not always easy, but traveling by helicopter after urging other people to save energy is just taking the mickey. It suggests that energy saving is for other people.
“In reality, the very rich tend to consume many times as much energy as the poor.”
Monbiot’s frustration is likely to be echoed by many who perceive Charles as a naked purveyor of double standards when it comes to green issues.
The trip may have created more than a ton of carbon dioxide, according to some estimates.
The prince is facing particularly intense accusations of hypocrisy as just days before the flight he urged people to work to save the planet “not just for ourselves but also for our children and grandchildren.”
In a video message released Friday, Charles said, “Ladies and gentlemen, Earth Hour is exactly what it says it is. One hour for the whole world to think about this extraordinary planet that sustains us all.
“It is a symbolic and powerful reminder that together we have the power to change things.
“It should also remind us that we do not have much time in which to make those changes.
“If everyone in the world consumed natural resources at the rate we do in the United Kingdom, we would need three planets, not just one, to support us,” he said.
One dreads to think how many planets we would need if we all consumed energy at the rate of the Prince of Wales.
James Smith, an activist for the British environmental pressure group Plane Stupid, said: “Charles is doing a great job of representing Britain—we fly more than any other nation on Earth, and the majority of those flights are completely unnecessary. For most of the middle class, as well as royalty, flying is the most environmentally damaging thing we do, and frequent flyers who think they’re green because they recycle or use efficient lightbulbs are just as hypocritical as Charles.”
Clarence House told The Royalist, “Safety, security, the need to minimise disruption for others, time, and cost are just some of the factors taken into account when travel decisions are made. Clarence House balances out its emissions by investing in sustainable forestry and projects that reduce deforestation.”
According to Charles’s official website, all of his emissions are compensated for by carbon offsetting and U.K. tree-planting initiatives.