(Jun 26, 2007)

Prince Charles becomes carbon neutral

By Jill Lawless
From AP

LONDON (AP) - Fewer chartered planes, more train trips and a royal Jaguar that runs on cooking oil have helped Prince Charles achieve a carbon-neutral household, an annual review of the prince's accounts said Tuesday.

The annual review by the prince's Clarence House office said Charles cut his annual carbon emissions by 9 percent, to 3,775 tons, between April 1, 2006 and March 31 of this year. The prince offset those emissions by investing in an agency that promotes tree planting and sustainable energy projects.

The review 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.

The report - printed on recycled paper in vegetable-based ink - said the prince had reduced the number of plane and helicopter journeys he takes, introduced green electricity at Highgrove, and converted his Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles to run on biodiesel fuel from used cooking oil.

Plans also are being discussed to convert the royal train to biodiesel fuel, said the prince's principal private secretary, Sir Michael Peat.

Charles was 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 Peat said the prince used carbon offsetting _ funding the planting of trees or other activities that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere _ to balance the effects of his air travel.

The total cost of offsetting the prince's carbon emissions for one year was about $60,000, the review said.

''We continue to look at the most effective, appropriate way in which to offset,'' Peat 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.''

Environmental group Friends of the Earth praised the carbon-cutting prince.

''The fact that he reduced his carbon emissions by 9 percent in the last year alone highlights the potential for making rapid cuts in the nation's contribution to climate change,'' director Tony Juniper said.

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