Blame it on the Beckhams: Carbon Footprint of the Royal Wedding is Huge


Photo: tfl

The big day has arrived: it's a national holiday in the UK and everyone has either fled the country or is watching it on the telly. It seems churlish to complain about the carbon footprint of the wedding, but someone has to do it...

Actually, a number of people have done it and come up with the conclusion that the one day will cause 12 times more carbon emissions than a whole year at the Palace. Blame it on the Beckhams... and all the other international celebrities and Royals flying in for the event. Landcare Research, a New Zealand think tank has been hard at work calculating the impact of the wedding. The biggest offenders are all the foreign Royals and celebrities and tourists flying into London. A quarter of the 1,900 guests will come from abroad.


Photo: landcare research

The Energy Saving Trust has said the best way for the couple to travel from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace is by horse and carriage (no emissions) rather than the Rolls-Royce Phantom (1.7kgCO2).

Crowds lining the streets, and travelling by train and subway will be another big source of emissions. Not to mention all the garbage that they will leave behind in food, cheap Union Jacks, and confetti. The garbage company is predicting that it will collect approximately 140 tons of waste left along the processional route; that's equal to the weight of over 50 Rolls Royces.

Then there is all the energy use from the millions watching it on television and eating and drinking more. In the "Only in Britain" category: it is predicted that after the couple kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, 600,000 people (seems like a low estimate) will turn on their kettles, setting off a massive power surge.


Photo: john lewis

To be fair, the couple have made great efforts to keep things green. Local and seasonal food will be served, flowers are from the Queen's estate, and Kate's ring is reported to be made from Welsh gold rather than minerals from an exploitative mine. All documents will be printed on recycled paper and FSC-certified wood will be used in the building of the media stands. The couple has a list of 26 charities including Earthwatch for guests to make donations.

American broadcasters have pleaded with Buckingham Palace to keep the lights on during the evening because it will be prime time in the USA (one in the morning in the UK) but the Palace has refused.


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Tags: Air Travel | Carbon Emissions

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