LONDON -- Putting his money where his environmentalist mouth is, Prince Charles is swapping gas-guzzling private planes and helicopters for commercial flights, train journeys, and biodiesel cars.
A longtime champion of green causes, the heir to the throne says action is needed now to avoid leaving a ruined planet to the next generation.
"From February, we are going to look at the diary and see what we can do to reduce our carbon footprint," a spokeswoman for the prince's London residence, Clarence House, said yesterday on condition of anonymity in line with royal rules. "Wherever possible, we will be making less use of helicopters and chartered planes and rely more on car journeys, scheduled flights, and trains."
The prince is also having his Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles converted to run on 100 percent biodiesel and is converting to the use of electricity from sustainable sources at his London and country homes, the spokeswoman said.
Energy-efficient boilers that burn wood chips are being installed at his country homes at Highgrove in southern England -- where he farms organically -- and at Birkhall in Scotland.
For the first time, the prince's annual accounts published next summer will include details of his household's carbon emissions and set targets to reduce this.
The royals have traditionally used private transport. But pressure to be more cost-effective has seen the scrapping of the royal yacht Britannia and cuts in the use of the royal train.
Charles's mother, Queen Elizabeth II, recently took a scheduled train for the first time, to Norfolk in eastern England, but has not announced any plans to cut emissions produced by her palaces.
Charles, whose green views once led the tabloids to lampoon him as a "loony" who talked to plants, has also launched an initiative to help businesses monitor cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
The prince's food company, Duchy Originals, which generates more than $1.8 million a year for his charities, is measuring the levels of greenhouse gases it emits in producing everything from biscuits to bacon.