Prince Charles Flies Into Green Storm
Prince Charles, the UKâ€™s â€œGreen Princeâ€, who has described climate change as the 'biggest threat to mankind', will be taking a 7,000-mile round trip to the United States later this month to pick up an environmental award.
The prince has been awarded the Global Environmental Citizen Prize from Harvard Medical Schoolâ€™s Center for Health and the Global Environment. He will fly, along with the Duchess of Cornwall and an entourage of 18 officials, to the US to collect his green award.
After Prince Charles was invited to pick up the green award, the Foreign Office built a programme around the ceremony to justify the trip, but has so far made no mention of any plans to offset the carbon emissions of the trip.
The Â£116,000 UK taxpayer-funded trip, which consists of 14 business-class and 6 club-class seats, takes Charles and his party to New York and Philadelphia on the 27th and 28th January.
Of course with recent anger at the British governmentâ€™s supposed aims to cut CO2 emissions and address global warming issues on one hand and yet proceed with an expansionist policy on Britainâ€™s airports on the other, this is yet another high profile case of bad judgement and utter hypocrisy, and not just by the royal himself but by the Foreign Office who oversee this trip.
A spokesperson for Clarence House, the official residence of HRH the Prince of Wales, said the award ceremony was part of a two-day visit, which would highlight environmental issues such as conservation, urban redevelopment and youth regeneration, but not carbon emissions from pointless air trips.
Prince Charles will collect the Global Environmental Citizen Prize from former 2005 winner Al Gore at the Harvard Medical Centreâ€™s award ceremony attended by Mr Gore and Hollywood actress Meryl Streep.
The circumstances of the trip have led one member of the House of Commons' public accounts committee to call for an investigation into the cost of the trip by public spending watchdog, the National Audit Office (NAO).
Labour MP Ian Davidson said that Prince Charles;
â€œâ€¦Seems to be travelling yet again on an international flight to collect a green award and padding out his programme with other events to justify the expense and extravagance of another foreign journey.
This does not sit well with the green image that the prince is trying to project."
Joss Garman from Plane Stupid, the aviation environmental campaign group, said:
"Flying to an environmental award ceremony is a bit like turning up to an Oxfam award ceremony in a stretch limo.
Prince Charles may as well be picking up an award for green hypocrisy, especially since he could have used this to highlight the seriousness of climate change by accepting the award via video link up.
Flying is the single most polluting way in which you can travel."
The best thing Charles can do is to cancel the trip, save the British taxpayers some money, stay at one of his luxury homes to broadcast his comments live to the ceremony via the Internet and then contribute some his own great fortune, around Â£116,000 will do, to a carbon neutral cause, maybe even donating that wealth to support The Woodland Trust.