In his previous incarnation as Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, our new monarch, King Charles III, was not averse to the use of greenhouse gas emitting private jets and helicopters. Earlier this year, before he became king, the Telegraph told us that “Prince Charles took more than 20 private flights within the UK ‘to avoid being stuck in traffic’”. Furthermore:
…the annual Sovereign Grant report revealed that he took several flights during the last financial year, including hopping between engagements in Northern Ireland and Wales and a 70-mile trip from London to RAF Brize Norton, in order to catch a charter flight to Jordan.
The Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall also appear to have flown separately to Wales by helicopter from their respective homes, Highgrove in Gloucestershire and Ray Mill in Wiltshire.
The couple took more than 15 charter flights, including to and from Belfast, and multiple journeys from residence to residence – including Glasgow to Northolt last July and Northolt to Marham to Aberdeen in December.
It comes as the Duchy of Cornwall, the Prince’s landed estate, outlined its ambition to reach net zero carbon by the early 2030s.
The question is whether confusion will continue to reign now that he is king. Perhaps it will, since confusion seems to extend to the Government too. Just three days ago the BBC told us that “King Charles will not attend climate summit on Truss advice”. We were reminded:
At last year’s COP26 conference, King Charles – or Prince Charles as he was then – was one of the star turns, delivering a passionate call for world leaders to adopt a “war-like footing” over climate change.
I’m not sure what a war-like footing amounts to, but whatever it is, it obviously doesn’t extend to being stuck in traffic jams when you can fly over them in a helicopter or in a private jet instead.
Whatever. Today we learn that “King Charles should attend climate summit, COP26 president says”. So, will he go? Will any UK head of state go?
Ms Truss has not said whether she will attend COP27, suggesting that the UK may have neither a head of government nor a head of state in attendance.
Meanwhile, apparently, “COP27: Activists ‘baffled’ that Coca-Cola will be sponsor”.
Campaigners told the BBC the deal undermines the talks, as the majority of plastics are made from fossil fuels.
Coca-Cola said it “shares the goal of eliminating waste and appreciates efforts to raise awareness”.
This year’s COP27 UN climate talks are hosted by the Egyptian government in November in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Egypt announced it had signed the sponsorship deal last week.
At the signing, Coca-Cola Global Vice-President, Public Policy and Sustainability Michael Goltzman said: “Through the COP27 partnership, the Coca-Cola system aims to support collective action against climate change.”
But opposition to the decision has grown over the past week over Coca-Cola’s links to plastic pollution. Climate activists are accusing the company of “greenwashing” and more than 5,000 have now signed a petition calling for the decision to be reversed.
The company admitted in 2019 that it uses three million tonnes of plastic packaging in a year.
Found on every continent and in the oceans, plastic is a major source of pollution. Its production also contributes to global warming.
But then, so does flying, and we are constantly being encouraged to avoid flights, especially unnecessary ones. Yet, according to CarbonBrief “[a]lmost 40,000 delegates registered for the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) climate summit, the provisional list shows, suggesting that the Glasgow event is the biggest COP to date.” Will another 40,000 descend on Sharm el-Sheikh (arguably a more congenial venue than Glasgow in November)? Will masses of greenhouse gases be spewed into the atmosphere yet again this year, for the 27th time, in the name of reducing greenhouse gases? Probably. Confusion reigns.