CHURCHVILLE, VA—Prince Charles recently made his most outspoken criticism yet of the world’s failure to reduce CO2 emissions. Meanwhile, British families have seen no global warming trend in 16 years, while their electric bills have doubled to support expensive and unreliable wind turbines.
Is Prince Charles now too “green” to be king of Britain? Until recently most Britons seemed almost as eager to get rid of fossil fuels as Charles. Now, however, electricity blackouts threaten, and “fuel poverty” looms for perhaps half of the nation’s families. Britain’s industries, meanwhile, are threatening to leave the country. Many are eying the much-lower energy costs in America, thanks to the shale gas revolution that President Obama seems powerless to stop. Potential nuclear power plant investors are also deterred by the low-cost shale gas.
Commentator Dominic Lawson wrote in the Sunday Times: . . . In “medicine, agriculture, architecture and energy production, the prince is taking positions that are intensely partisan; and some of these are areas in which decisions have monumental economic implications for every family in the land. . . . The prince certainly needs someone to point out to him that the planet is not ‘dying’ and that it was just fine when CO2 concentrations were vastly higher than they are now or are ever likely to be as a result of whatever amount of fossil fuels we burn.”
Peter Wilby wrote in The Guardian on May 10th: “Prince Charles should have remained silent. Charles strays into areas of political dispute over what should be done [about global warming]. Charles’s lack of judgment may explain why, though he will take over duties such as attending Commonwealth heads of government conference, the Queen will not agree to either abdication or a regency. Charles is a dangerously divisive figure. . .”
Jonathan Brown said in The Independent last November 23rd that the Prince: “is a good representative of the environmental movement” but added that the “extreme alarm and extreme concern doesn’t convince any governments or any ministers, and in the end it is over the top and won’t be heard.”
Britain has long demanded that its monarchs remain non-political. Prince Phillip has come close to crossing that line, saved by the fact that he is not a king, merely the husband of a queen. Charles has been free to express his many activist views as long as Queen Elizabeth keeps the reigns firmly in her hands.
Since Brown’s column, the energy situation in Britain has gotten steadily worse. The wind turbines are failing to produce reliable energy, and, therefore, must be backed by fossil energy in spinning reserve. Meanwhile, Britain’s North Sea gas is running out.
Prince Charles’s deeply felt positions on energy are likely to be even less comfortable for a suffering UK public in the years ahead. America’s NASA announced in 2008 that the Pacific had entered its cool phase, which implies moderately cooler global temperatures until roughly 2030 at least. Queen Elizabeth is highly unlikely to occupy the throne for so long.
Will King Charles then declaim about man-made warming from the British throne? How will his protests impact public opinion—and the royal family— if the country is suffering brown-outs and fuel poverty in a world that stubbornly refuses to obey the computerized climate models?
Dennis T. Avery, a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., is an environmental economist. He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State. He is co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years. Readers may write to him at PO Box 202 Churchville, VA 24421; email to email@example.com. Visit our website at www. cgfi.org