Editorials

The Royals and Climate Change

2 November 2021

By Michaela Makusha

The recent weeks have seen an influx of the Royal Family emphasising their concern over the dire state of climate change and the lack of effort in fighting it.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge launched the Earthshot Prize, which awarded money to initiatives helping to create a greener planet.

Prince Charles expressed his support for Greta Thunberg and Insulate Britain, as well as making a speech at the COP 20 summit in Rome. It seems the royals are all getting into the fight against climate change before COP 26 in Glasgow.

climate-earthshot

Whilst they are probably sincere in their concern for the planet, it is a little difficult to believe them, considering their actual actions.

If the Queen is looking for world leaders to be irritated with on their lack of action concerning climate change, she should look in one of her many overpriced mirrors.

It was revealed by The Guardian that the Queen lobbied the Scottish parliament for exemption from her private land from a major initiative to cut carbon emissions.

As one of the largest landowners in Scotland, she would usually have to update the infrastructure of properties on the land to heat buildings using renewable energy sources.

royal-family-balmoral

She is able to do this due to what’s called Queen’s Consent. This is a convention whereby ministers and parliament allow the monarch to exercise consultative and veto powers over laws affecting the prerogatives or the interests.

She also used this to make herself exempt from sex and discrimination laws. So next time they talk about how they love the Commonwealth, just remember Her Majesty doesn’t want them working near her or the family.

Moreover, the Royal Family’s carbon footprint is atrocious. According to Statista, the Royal Family’s properties used 3,638 tonnes of carbon across their properties and their official travel racked up 3,344 tonnes in 2019.

To put that in perspective, the average carbon footprint per person in the UK is around 8.34 tonnes.

Even their eco-friendly publicity stunts go wrong.

For example, in 2019, William and Kate took a Flybe plane home. Cheap flight, commercial airline, great. But it was actually emptied out beforehand.

My advice? Just take the private jet, people only seem to actually care when his brother and his wife breathe the wrong way.

Recommended Reading: Should the Royal Family be abolished?

Now, of course, none of us are perfect when it comes to being more sustainable. I’m certainly still trying my best as are a lot of us.

But learning that the Queen and her heirs can simply say ‘no’ to any meaningful change to protect the planet because of their position is a kick in the teeth when they tell the rest of us that we need to fight to save the planet.

There is no denying that the royal family have done a lot to help bring the issue of climate change, but unless they commit to actual, legal change to help reduce their carbon footprint, this seems like a long term publicity stunt that they’re having a lot of fun with.

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