Prince Albert’s environmental ambitions

Following the publication of the White Paper (Livre Blanc) this December in the Principality, all ears were tuned to hear Prince Albert’s thoughts on energy and the transition plans outlined in the White Paper. HelloMonaco also tuned in for its readers as well as scouring the French press for Prince Albert’s reported comments which included the following preamble:

That together we will create a society that uses less energy, a society that benefits from the use of renewable energy and will be more sustainable; together we will put an accent on creating this new society free of fossil fuels, and quoting Henry Ford who said “coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success”.

That the foundations are in place for a collective effort from the public and private sectors must be a source of satisfaction for the Prince. But no doubt Prince Albert has it in mind to further encourage the practical implementation of the best ideas for transition to a society using clean forms of energy.

The essence of his reported remarks on whether he was surprised by the quantity and quality of suggestions received with the publication of the Livre Blanc were that Prince Albert felt a strong connection to the project that the government is putting in place and is satisfied particularly with certain contributions that he found really excellent – at the same time emphasizing it was time to put forth a clear message about the Principality’s energy transition and what that entails:

  • about how things will be put into place;
  • about the best options;
  • and how to accelerate toward them in order to obtain the objectives, no matter the effort, no matter that Monaco is a small country.

Hello Monaco notes that the Livre Blanc mentions a public building to be modelled in the field of renewable energy and the Prince has been queried as to which one exactly, assuming that there were two possibilities under review. The only clue from the Prince’s reported answers on this is that it would be an existing old building, remodelled and extended into adjacent free space. Interesting – we must wait and see which one.

Hello Monaco has reported before on the proposed cable-car gondolas from Jardin Exotique to the Rock connecting through Fontvieille Commercial Centre. On this, the Prince’s thoughts remain consistently supportive of the potential opportunity to remove tens of thousands of cars a year from Monaco traffic. Reports mention that a station at Brasca could have the gondolas travelling above private property – so this poses an issue for discussion.

Prince Albert II
Prince Albert II. Source:

And asked about the role of rail-networks which are obviously important public transport alternatives to private vehicles that increase pollution – bearing in mind that the public will be more incented to use trains if they are scheduled well, timely and comfortable.

Discussions are underway to ensure a smooth transition to greater capacity, efficiency and timeliness and with optimum scheduling and SNCF has understood well what is at stake is the essence of Prince Albert’s reported comments on rail transport.

And on the major 6-hectare sea extension project, questions have been raised before about:

– the possibility of carrying out such a project whilst having limited impact on marine life,

– the rehabilitation of various species to help them recolonize,

– the role of scientists in playing close attention to what is happening.

On all these things the Prince is reported strongly to be of the opinion that the project is consistent with the environmental message of the Principality, that the guidelines are strict and that he will watch carefully to see that there is an exemplary execution according to the guidelines – the target being the least impact on the environment possible. The project is manageable at six hectares; it is not 15 or 18 hectares after all.

Does Prince Albert regret the lack of discussion about the environment during the French election campaign? It is obvious that anyone interested in the environment, together with Prince Albert, would regret the omission and hope that the subject will resurge in the minds of both politicians and the public. It is understandable that at times other urgent worries crowd out attention on the environment – but if we are vigilant and show our concern it will return to centre-stage in the debate – its rightful place.

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