The Prince of Wales has been waxing lyrical about the seriousness of climate change over the last few weeks, most recently at a state dinner at the Presidential Palace in Santiago, Chile. The Telegraph reported today that the Prince spoke on the topic at a dinner with President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet and 300 guests.
The prince said “How can we begin to address poverty if we haven’t first ensured our planet is habitable?” He said that he believes in “action not words… telling the audience that “we must think and act across boundaries of nation, sector, language and culture, and to do so now and with resolve”.
What the prince fails to tell us is how precisely he proposes we deal with climate change. The main “actions not words” we have seen to date from the prince are moves to prevent, modern renewable energy technology such as wind farms which he describes as a “horrendous blot on the landscape” – their proliferation to be stopped before they terminally ruin some of the UK’s most beautiful countryside.
The Times reported in 2005 that one of the prince’s aides had responded to an anti-wind farm campaigner saying that although he could not get involved in individual cases he “moves in circles where he can have influence”. Later, the Prince of Wales pledged to “use his influence” to prevent the spread of wind farms in response to a proposal to build a 45 wind turbines in Caithness, Scotland. The former energy minister – Brian Wilson said that Charles’s views should not have undue influence: “The prince is entitled to his opinions, just so long as they don’t carry more weight than anybody else’s.”
Prince Charles’s annual income is reported as totalling almost £12 million (US $18m). The majority of this comes from the Duchy of Cornwall – his estate in Devon and Cornwall which comprises 126,000 acres, much of which is suitable for wind energy projects. The Prince of Wales will however not consider having them on his land, or be associated with them whatsoever. I wonder if he will get around to realising the two stances are incompatible and that his conscience is clear when he watches the next round of Bangladesh floods on TV.