Did the Windsor-Middleton party set new a record for greenhouse gas emissions produced by a one-day event?
by Ian Angus
A while back, in an article about a bizarre scheme to let people in Britain offset their carbon emissions by paying for birth control in Madagascar, I wrote:
I might take this a little more seriously if the money were used to reduce the birth rate among rich Brits. Just think how much lower England’s emissions would be if aristocrats and bank directors were limited to one spoiled child each. How many Bentleys and Jaguars could be taken off the road if the Royal Family stopped reproducing altogether?
Friday’s Royal Wedding confirms my judgement.
The New Zealand environmental research group Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research has prepared a rough estimate of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the merger of the Windsor and Middleton families.
The results indicate that the activities on the day of the wedding could be responsible for an estimated 2,808 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) in greenhouse gases, for the scope of emissions calculated. Emissions due to travel by crowds lining the streets might amount to another 3,957 tonnes of CO2e and the Royal Airforce flyover might add another 1.95 tonnes of CO2e.
Total: 6,767 tonnes.
Landcare emphasizes that this is a very rough estimate, compiled as a “fun exercise.”
What’s more, their estimates aren’t complete: the London Telegraph points out that the estimated Royal Wedding emissions don’t include “emissions from the millions of tons of bunting, cheap Union Jacks and confetti flooding the streets on the day, or the flights of the international media.”
Nor, we can add, did Landcare include emissions from police operations, helicopter surveillance, pre-emptive arrests of dissidents, or other actions associated with what the Independent calls “the biggest security operation in a generation.”
But Landcare’s estimate is high enough. The company says that emissions associated with the Royal wedding were 1230 times greater than an entire year’s emissions from an average UK household. It’s even 12 times the annual emissions produced by Buckingham Palace.
Landcare doesn’t say so, but in one day the Royal family was responsible for pumping more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than 67,700 people in Madagascar produce in an entire year.
That puts the entire “too many people” argument into proper perspective. Anyone who really wants to reduce global emissions should be campaigning to abolish the English monarchy.