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Published on July 19th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

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Carbon-Neutral Prince Charles Gets Driven Around on Old Cooking Fat

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It’s hard being an environmental celebrity, especially when you are Royal too. People want to see you, but that can mean racking up a lot of carbon miles.

So Prince Charles had his Aston Martin converted to run on bio-ethanol made from aged English wine, and his Audi, Jaguar, and Range Rover all run on what the English call old cooking fat.

In the US we call this reused cooking oil because that’s much hipper and greener sounding, and marketing is everything.

So now Prince Charles is driven in the royal Jaguar that runs on homemade biodiesel and, for a little variety; in the Land Rover or the Audi, in a carbon conscious fashion.

But what about his airplane travel? Well…

When he absolutely must cross continents and oceans as part of his job being a celebrated and Royal environmentalist, he offsets his air travel.

Last year he spent $60,000 to offset the carbon miles he racked up with his 86 essential airplane trips last year alone.

The offset dollars went an agency that uses the carbon offset dollars to build sustainable energy projects, like TerraPass does in the US. (Carbon offsets are not indulgences, as the deniers like to call them, but the water that is needed to grow a greener economy, since the money gets spent to build wind farms and plant trees and such. This lowers carbon emissions, and helps us end the age of oil gracefully, ensuring a habitable planet, so it’s a good thing when those who can buy carbon offsets.)

According to an annual review of the Royal accounts, here’s what it took to achieve a carbon-neutral Royal household:

  1. The Austin Martin that runs on the fine British wine ethanol,
  2. the Jaguar and the Audi and the Range Rover that run on homemade biodiesel,
  3. the reduced use of chartered planes,
  4. the train travel wherever possible
  5. and the $60,000 in carbon offsets

The report; which was printed on recycled paper in vegetable-based ink – -said the prince’s households; the Highgrove estate in western England, where he farms organically, as well as Clarence House in London and Birkhall in Scotland — and the activities of Charles and his wife Camilla were now carbon neutral.

Charles had been criticized earlier this year for flying to New York to accept an environmental award — one of 86 overseas trips the prince took in the past year, but what can he do?

“We continue to look at the most effective, appropriate way in which to offset,” Sir Michael said. “I’m sure we’ll develop and revise the way we offset as we go on. But we’re doing it the best way we can at the moment.”

The annual review by the prince’s Clarence House office found that Charles has cut his annual carbon emissions by 9 per cent. In our different ways, we should all be inspired to try to do as well

Image from Flikr user smilykt


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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



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