Fiscal paradise Monaco has led the small countries of the world in the campaign to heighten awareness of environmental issues since Prince Albert became Sovereign in 2005, and has launched a radical plan of its own to cut carbon emissions.
One of the first acts Prince Albert took when succeeding to the throne upon his father's death was to sign the Kyoto Protocol.
Along with the USA and Australia, Monaco was one of the few countries not to sign up to the treaty intended to cut greenhouses gases.
Included in a campaign by Prince Albert to protect the environment has been an expedition to the Arctic to see for himself how global warming has begun to melt the glaciers, and shortly after his return he started a foundation to study rising sea levels and how to address what he sees as environmental challenges.
Monaco travel guide comment that given the Principality's position in the Mediterranean, concern at rising sea levels should come as no surprise.
'There are plans at an advanced stage to build an island off Monte Carlo, which will change the map of Monte Carlo, and the district of Fontvieille is largely reclaimed from the sea. '
The island is expected to be complete in ten years time, and will include the first new hotels in Monaco for some time.
Prince Albert recently spent time with fellow royal and campaigner for the environment Prince Charles.
'Most notable of all', comment YourMonaco, ‘Prince Albert chose a mansion in the Kalorama district of Washington D. C. to serve as Monaco's U. S. Embassy - Monaco's first independent embassy outside of Europe. Up to now it hasn't been necessary for Monaco to have her own representation in the U. S. - France has always looked after Monaco's interests. But it serves as a useful base for him to entertain politicans on Capitol Hill and get his environment message across. Expect to see more of Prince Albert in America in the coming months and years!’.
With Prince Albert punching above Monaco's weight abroad, he has been no less active at home to prove his green credentials, and a radical plan has been introduced to cut carbon emissions, and to reduce the number of cars on the streets of Monte Carlo.
The domestic campaign began with the Monaco Yacht Show 2005, held each September, with the event successfully becoming carbon neutral. To encourage the thousands who commute to Monaco every day from neighbouring France and Italy the railway station is one of the best in Europe, with frequent and reliable services.
'For those who work in Monte Carlo and travel in from Nice and her surrounding villages five days a week, it's both cheaper and quicker to take the train - the trains are modern and comfortable and it's rare for seats not to be available even during the rush hour', claim . ‘Once people are in Monaco the local transport service is equally quick and efficient. Virtually all routes are well planned and easy to understand, and the most you have to wait for a bus is ten minutes, often it's just a couple of minutes - which isn't exactly a hardship given the Monte Carlo weather!'
With many major companies and the Monaco banks also looking to see how they can improve their own environmental records the business community view the steps as prudent ones.
The routes are planned to incorporate tourist needs, with many passing by the Hotel de Paris in Casino Square and the Columbus in Fontvieille, two of the best known and popular hotels in Monaco. Fares have been reduced to one Euro, making public transport in Monaco among the lowest priced, comfortable and frequent in Europe.
With the overall aim to increase bus usage by 20 per cent, the Principality is also funding five new duplex trains with a thirty per cent increase in train services, and in an innovative attempt to persuade commuters to leave their cars at home will provide free electric cycles at car park schemes.
'The one time of year you might see fast cars being encouraged is of course for the Monaco Grand Prix in May', conclude YourMonaco, ‘But overall it's Prince Albert who will be able to claim the winners rostrum among European leaders for the environment. '
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