The United Kingdom’s Prince Charles arrived at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, last week in an electric car, posed for photos with teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, and called on the tycoons in attendance to help cut carbon emissions — all in the midst of a series of private jet and helicopter flights totaling more than 16,000 miles, according to the Mail on Sunday.
“Global warming, climate change and the devastating loss of biodiversity are the greatest threats humanity has ever faced, and one largely of its own creation,” Charles told the assembled super-rich.
“In order to secure our future and to prosper,” he maintained, “we need to evolve our economic model,” i.e., to move toward global socialism. To that end, he “called for new eco-taxes, greener fuels and hydrogen-powered planes by 2030,” reported the Daily Mail.
But the Prince of Wales, much like the rest of those at Davos, does not appear to practice what he preaches. His visit to the WEF was just one leg of a journey that began on January 11 with the dispatch of an empty private jet from Austria to Scotland, a distance of 944 miles. There Charles, at the request of Queen Elizabeth II, boarded the plane and traveled 3,765 miles to the Middle Eastern country of Oman, where he offered his condolences to Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said on the death of his predecessor, Qaboos bin Said, who had ruled Oman for 50 years.
At that point, Charles’ jet returned to its base in Austria, and another plane was dispatched from the U.K. to Oman to retrieve him, the original flight crew having exceeded their allowable flight hours. Charles flew to England for a meeting with the queen regarding Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s desire to abandon their royal duties. The round trip for the second jet covered 7,250 miles.
Charles took a private helicopter back to Scotland, and the chopper returned to its base in England, for a total flight distance of 485 miles. Then came the 750-mile private-jet trip from Scotland to Davos, followed by a 1,740-mile jaunt to Israel.
All told, Charles’ private aircraft flew over 16,000 miles in 11 days, costing taxpayers an estimated $365,600 and emitting “more than 162 metric tons of carbon — 18 times an average Briton’s annual total,” wrote the Mail.
The royals, of course, defended the prince’s use of private aircraft despite his public denunciations of excessive carbon emissions. “Global travel is an inescapable part of the Prince’s role as a senior member of the Royal Family representing the UK overseas,” one royal spokesman told the Mail. “When he travels he does so at the request of the British Government. He does not choose the destinations any more than he chooses the means by which the journeys are undertaken.”
Not everyone was buying it. Muna Suleiman of Friends of the Earth told the paper, “Climate targets can’t be met without cutting pollution from aviation emissions, and private jets are a particularly wasteful way to travel.”
“The Prince has been campaigning against the dangers of global warming for 50 years,” a royal source countered, forgetting that 50 years ago, the alleged climate threat was global cooling. “As soon as there is a more efficient way of traveling, bearing in mind all the factors involved, he’ll be the first to adopt them.”
Charles, however, told the WEF that waiting around for solutions will doom the planet. “Do we want to go down in history as the people who didn’t do anything to bring the world back from the brink?” he asked. “The only limit is our willingness to act and the time to act is now.”
In that case, your royal highness, on your next trip to the Middle East, how would you like your camel: one hump or two?
Photo of Prince Charles in 2015, on his ninth trip to New Zealand: New Zealand Defence Force