THE British royal family are very keen to be seen as champions of the environment. The key words there are “keen to be seen” – the Windsors are markedly less keen on doing anything to protect the environment that might prejudice their financial interests. 

The Queen was overheard voicing her irritation at when world leaders "talk but they don't do" on climate change. Prince William warned those attending COP26 against "clever speak, clever words but not enough action".

It was only a few weeks ago that we learned that the royal household had used the royal prerogative to demand that the Queen's Donside estates be given an exemption from laws designed to help tackle climate change. Perhaps if Prince William was serious about avoiding "clever speak, clever words but not enough action" he could start by looking a lot closer to home.

It's not the first time that the Windsors' hypocrisy and their "do as we say, not as we do" attitude has been exposed. It certainly won't be the last. According to the Ecoexperts blog, the annual carbon footprint of the royal family in 2019 was a massive 3810 tonnes. The carbon footprint of the average person in the UK is just 10 tonnes a year.

Prince Charles – a man who reportedly has the highest number of personal staff of any member of the royal family – is the worst offender. In 2019, Charles and his wife and their entourage took 17 flights on private jets, three scheduled flights and two trips on RAF helicopters, releasing 432 tonnes of carbon in transport alone. Prince climate champion William and his wife took two private jets, two scheduled flights and one trip on the royal family's dedicated train, releasing 11 tonnes in carbon in transport alone. It should be added that the royal train is hauled by a carbon-emitting, diesel–electric hybrid locomotive, not an electric locomotive which could be powered by electricity from clean and renewable sources.

No one who routinely flies by private jet has any business posing as a champion of the environment and campaigner against climate change. Private jets have a disproportionate impact on the environment. In just one hour, a single private jet can emit two tonnes of CO2. The average person in the EU emits just 8.2 tonnes of CO2 in a year. 

No doubt during the COP26 summit we will see a lot of fawning coverage about the Winsdors' commitment to tackling climate change. It will be nothing more than the sycophantic greenwashing of a highly polluting and wasteful family.

This piece is from today's REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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