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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle plead with fans to ‘save the planet’

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have asked fans to consider their carbon footprint, just days after new figures show the Royal Household’s emissions doubled last year.

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Harry and Meghan took to Instagram in the early hours of Monday with a post dedicated to environmental issues and warning that climate change, fossil fuel emissions and plastics are endangering our planet.

But the couple’s warning about emissions risks another PR misstep given their globe-trotting lifestyle. And it comes hot on the heels of criticism over their decision to hold baby Archie’s christening in private and the revelation of lavish £2.4m taxpayer-funded renovations to Frogmore Cottage.

In the Instagram post, The Duke of Sussex said: ‘Environmental damage has been treated as a necessary by-product of economic growth.

‘Only now are we starting to notice and understand the damage that we’ve been causing. With nearly 7.7billion people inhabiting this Earth, every choice, every action makes a difference.’

Meghan and Harry urged their followers to look at 15 Instagram accounts focused on the environment including 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, Leonardo Di Caprio’s climate change foundation and Elephants Without Borders. 

A report released last week showed that 2019 CO2 emission total for the royal family’s business travel was 3,344 tonnes, compared to 1,687 tonnes in 2018, causing travel emissions to rise by 98%.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have visited Morocco and Dublin, as well as Sydney, Melbourne, Fraser Island, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand as part of their Australia tour, on official business in the past year.  

A report released last week showed that 2019 CO2 emission total for the royal family’s business travel was 3,344 tonnes, compared to 1,687 tonnes in 2018, causing travel emissions to rise by 98%. 

However most journeys were taken by Charles and Camilla, who visited the Caribbean, Africa and Europe on behalf of the Queen. 

The Royal Family’s greenhouse gas emissions grew by 3% to 8,393 tonnes, due to an increase in the use of ‘chartered large fixed wing aircraft for foreign business travel’.  

Today’s Instagram post by Sussex Royal shows penguins in the arctic, turtles, children holding environmental action signs across the world, and a sea of plastic bottles, along with the new accounts it follows, including Rhino Conservation Botswana and National Geographic, tagged. 

Other accounts include the African Parks Network, Elephants Without Borders, Wilderness Foundation UK, WWF International, Australian Geographic, Rhino Conservation Botswana, Zero Hour, Everyday Climate Change, Dr. Jane Goodall, Ocean Heroes Bootcamp, Greta Thunberg, Mike Bloomberg, Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.

The caption reads: ‘As a continuation of our monthly social awareness approach to shine a light on the accounts that are working towards positive change, for the month of July we turn our attention to the environment.

‘There is a ticking clock to protect our planet – with climate change, the deterioration of our natural resources, endangerment of sacred wildlife, the impact of plastics and microplastics, and fossil fuel emissions, we are jeopardizing this beautiful place we call home – for ourselves and for future generations. Let’s save it. Let’s do our part.’

A quote from Harry adds:  ‘Environmental damage has been treated as a necessary by-product of economic growth. 

‘So deeply ingrained is this thinking that it has been considered part of the natural order that humankind’s development comes at the expense of our planet. 

‘Only now are we starting to notice and understand the damage that we’ve been causing. With nearly 7.7 billion people inhabiting this Earth, every choice, every footprint, every action makes a difference.’ 

The post quickly racked up over 150,000 likes and comments of approval. 

However some were less forgiving, with one writing: ‘Wait guys. You can’t fly private jets in your personal life and then post this kind of thing. Either live it or don’t. Truly. Walk the talk. Otherwise it’s hypocrisy.’

Another added: ‘Great initiative, but what about all the flying and driving done by the entire royal family? What about the outrageous size of the housing, the cost of the clothing etc. Perhaps it’s time to set an example. Be the change the our planet needs’.

But defending them, another argued: ‘Sometimes security or schedules will dictate. However the millions of people not car sharing etc not walking and dumping things that get into our ocean is a far bigger issue. 

‘One family can’t sort it alone. The royals don’t contribute to ocean damage for example. We can’t stop flights the world has changed but collectively non royals are a bigger problem in all areas. They do their bit. Perspective required.’ 

New figures from the overall Royal Household released last week revealed there was a fall in energy use at Buckingham Palace, following efforts from the Palace to reduce its environmental impact. 

But CO2 emissions for the whole Royal Household rose from 1,687 in 2018 to 3,344 in 2019, despite a 24 per cent fall in energy use at the palace.

Officials said it was a matter of regret but stressed that increased foreign travel on behalf of the Government were responsible for the rise.

‘This is clearly linked to five major overseas visits rather than one the previous year,’ one official insisted.

A spokesman for the Prince of Wales pointed out that his emissions had risen by only 2 per cent overall, despite increased travel requests.

In the financial year ending March 31, 2019, figures revealed that the Royal Family spent £4.6 million on travel.  

Prince Charles topped the royal family’s bill, racking up a £1.3million travel bill due to official overseas travel in the place of the Queen. 

Western Isles SNP MP Angus MacNeil said: ‘This is not so much a carbon footprint as a yeti print. Everybody knows that the Royal Family do a great job but they have to be reasonable about their travel and take scheduled flights where appropriate.

‘What is particularly disappointing is that Prince Charles is a leading proponent of urging measures to tackle climate change but is not setting a very good example with these chartered flights. 

‘I am surprised that it has cost nearly £200,000 to fly to and from Scotland given his green credentials – especially when most of these flights seem to be just for him.

‘There’s always the train, but even then, in Charles’ case, that cost over £22,000 one way.’

The barrage of criticism comes as working royals Harry and Meghan were again slammed last week, after it was revealed that the couple’s renovation of the Frogmore Cottage residence in Windsor has cost £2.4 million of taxpayer funds.

The Grade II listed 10-bedroom property is set close to the winding lakes, wooded mounds, glades, walks and bridges of the gardens at Frogmore.   

The ‘substantial overhaul’ of Frogmore Cottage – a gift to the couple from the Queen – was approved by Her Majesty but it is still not complete with the costs set to rise by up to £600,000 because of landscaping and more decorating. 

Frogmore Cottage, 19th century property had been converted into five smaller staff houses and needed to be turned back into a single home. Ceilings and floors were replaced along with the addition of new bathrooms, bedrooms and a kitchen. 

Heating providers viessmann.co.uk told FEMAIL: ‘Refurbishing an average house of a similar size would generate about eight tonnes in carbon emission’.

A London to Sydney return trip emits around 5.54 tonnes of emission.

The Duke and Duchess faced further criticism still, when it was revealed this weekend that they would keep baby Archie’s christening at Windsor Chapel next weekend private. 

Some have slammed the Royal couple for making the event private and said until the couple ‘stop living off taxpayers money’ then they can’t make those demands.

One social media user said: ‘Private Christening but publicly funded.’

Another ranted: ‘This is all fine. As long as we don’t pay for him. You can’t have it both ways ⁦⁦. If you are private citizens don’t expect to be publicly funded.’    

 

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