Saturday, 30 April 2011

Monaco´s "green" prince Albert - climate change hypocrite of the year?

"We have to move away from a society that´s obsessed with consumption and consumerism. It has to be something else". "We cannot go on the way we are going"

Are these the words of  the notorious Stanford University doomsday prophet Paul Ehrlich, or perhaps climate alarmist, Nobel laureate Al Gore? They could be, but this is actually His Serene Highnesss Prince Albert II of Monaco lecturing us about how to live our lives in an interview with the EU sponsored Euronews:

"Green" prince Albert has probably observed a lot of consumtion and consumerism - particularly thanks to shady Russian billionaires and mafia people who have chosen to live in Monaco - in and around his palace and his money making machines, the casinos:

This week, a Russian sugar daddy with several female companions had breakfast at a restaurant, shelling out 110,000 euros and then giving a 10,000 tip.

An unfamiliar word, screamed out in a horrifying voice, attracted everyone’s attention at Casino SUN. Three-hundred thousand euros that an unknown Russian lost in one fell swoop enriched the Monegasques’ vocabulary with a Russian profanity. The loser walked out of the hall, while the game continued as usual.

The beach at the Beach Hotel is the best in Monaco: It is used by the prince himself. Yet even here everyone was stunned by the appearance of a boy of about 10 with a wad of pink 500-euro bills, saying: ”Dad gave it to me to celebrate my birthday!“

Last year, the yacht of a minor oil tycoon called at the Port d’Hercule. At midnight, its lights went up to the accompaniment of disco music. Before long, however, the yacht’s owner lost moorage rights and was told never to enter Monaco waters again. Well, you don’t argue with the prince.

Still, the more money they spend, the better
(for His Serene Highness. NNoN). Even the harsh traffic police try not to fine the drunk drivers of luxury cars when they leave casinos.

Monaco’s uncrowned king — Societe des Bains de Mer (SBM) which owns the country’s best hotels, casinos, and banks — has for the past one and a half centuries been managing its properties with an iron hand. Each SBM hotel, where prices start at $1,500 for a single room, has luxury suites at 2,000 to 7,000 euros a night during the high season.

 There are more car showrooms than groceries here. A Maybach or a Lamborghini here costs one-half of what it does, e.g. in France, where the luxury tax is charged. Motor vehicles parked outside the Grand Casino, built by the legendary Garnier and reminiscent of the Opera de Paris building, are not to be seen anywhere else. You cannot, however, drive to neighboring Nice in such a car, gold coast people complain: Its body will be scratched or its tires will be slashed there. You’ve got to live in Monaco: It has everything — golf fields, tennis courts, sea baths, and spa salons. Russians in Monaco are clients who must not be humiliated by low prices, especially when comfort, heat and excitement are closely intertwined.

Yachts are another important prestige factor. There is a kind of tacit competition for yacht size. Every extra meter costs about 1 million. Yacht builders meet at Port d’Hercule every year, showing their products, striking deals, and taking orders.

Read the entire article here

Monaco is famous around the world for its image of a tax haven. In effect, the residents of the principality can enjoy no income tax, no tax on large fortunes, no local tax, no housing tax and no tax on property gains.
From the beginning, Monaco has known how to mix all the ingredients for an exceptional Jet Set lifestyle; perfect year round weather, safety, famous casinos, 5 stars palaces, world-known nightclubs and last but not least the name Monaco has become a brand in it self that exemplifies Jet Set.

Read the entire article here

And now we read that the (former?) playboy prince of the lilliput state is trying to polish his "green" image by letting us know that he will be driven to his wedding in June in a hybrid Lexus:

It may be the greenest royal wedding of the year, as Lexus Europe announced on Thursday that it has scored a major coup: His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco will use the hybrid Lexus LS 600h L for his July nuptials, marking the first time a European royal has selected a hybrid for a royal wedding.
Prince Albert will marry Charlene Wittstock on July 2. He is a high-profile advocate of green vehicles and has pushed Monaco to develop a mobility plan with lower environmental impact. Lexus issued a gushy press release, saying that the prince confirmed "his commitment for more environmentally friendly solutions," with the choice of the Lexus hybrid.

If prince Albert means what he says, he should start with making some more convincing changes than the choice of the Lexus luxury hybrid, or having the Formula 1 cars run on biofuel, which he has suggested. And installing a few solar panels on the roof of Villa Girasole is not enough, either.
While waiting for Albert to give proof of some real "green" credentials - like imposing a 40-50 % "green" tax for all the billionaires who have chosen to live or keep their megayachts in his tax haven - he remains the strongest candidate for our Climate Hypocrite of the Year award. 

PS 2
In the meantime the good prince also has to prove that these allegations are wrong.

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