H.S.H. Prince Albert II
- 30 April 2010
- Can you talk to us about the work of your Foundation and how it helps address climate change?
I decided to set up my Foundation in 2006, with the purpose to protect the environment and to encourage sustainable development. Last December in Copenhagen, my Foundation, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, signed a memorandum of understanding with The Climate Group. Within this framework, I have accepted to chair the EV20 initiative, which promotes the use of electric vehicles (EVs).
Since 2005, I have pursued and reinforced an EV policy with initiatives to support manufacturers, incentivize buyers and raise public awareness of these attractive new cars. In addition to this, the Principality of Monaco, which has put the preservation of the environment at the heart of its actions, has championed electric vehicles as a mode of clean mobility for nearly twenty years now.
- Your foundation helped set up the 'EV20' with The Climate Group. What does the EV20 alliance set out to do?
The EV20 will be an international coalition working to turn electric vehicles into a mass market solution to climate change. It aims to do this by mobilizing leading public and private players to adopt bold new EV projects, policies and commitments, identify and address barriers, and share emerging understandings around best practices. We'd like all the leaders in this field to join us.
The automobile, for many, is a symbol as much as it is a daily tool. Changes in this sector will be taken as signs of a bigger movement.
- Humanity is becoming ever more dependent on the world’s natural resources. Just how important are EV’s and other clean technologies in the pursuit of a low carbon economy, and in the preservation of our planet?
In the case of climate change, the threats are becoming increasingly visible, enabling us to understand the importance of the problems and compelling us to act before it becomes irreversible.
The serious financial crisis has highlighted the failures of our lifestyle and economy, and has started to turn the carbon economy from an aspiration into a necessity, and the dream into reality. But despite its terrible effects on various sectors and on many people, it has also opened up new debates among policymakers and the general public.
We are finally daring to question the logic of ever increasing consumption, based on the abuse of natural resources and willful blindness to the long-term consequences of our actions. As we start to invent alternative, more responsible and more sustainable solutions, we discover that transformational change is possible.
- What do you see as being the benefits of EVs?
We can save the car industry through reinventing it. And we must look to do this for all the people whose jobs and livelihoods depend on a thriving automobile industry, but also because of the values that this ingenious invention embodies.
The reinvention of the automobile offers huge benefits: healthy collaboration between stakeholders, manufacturers and the public sector has created a winning formula of wills and skills. One that is capable of re-thinking the whole world through unprecedented collaboration.
The car remains a cornerstone of our civilization, allowing us a freedom that would otherwise be inconceivable. But let’s not forget that we know how decades of use and abuse of internal combustion engine vehicles have resulted in environmental damage.
By saving the car industry, clean energies will save a part of our civilization.
- “We are moving away from an era of hope to one of real progress”. These were your words at an EV20 event last December in Copenhagen. What progress are we seeing within electric vehicle manufacturing?
The promise of clean vehicles has fed our imagination for some time. But, until very recently, they have seemed a far-off dream.
More than any other sector, the automotive industry illustrates the new reality of change. It is now making profound changes, which could herald the dawn of a new model of growth. The first electric vehicles were expensive and unreliable. But these have been replaced by powerful, reliable and affordable cars. Every year, experts gather at the EVER (Ecologic Vehicles & Renewable Energies) Expo in Monaco to judge the extent and speed of progress.
Progress in this key sector now faces a test. The quick results that we are achieving are already proving that things can change on a large scale; they encourage us to persevere in our joint mobilization.
- How quickly can we expect to see such technological advancement increasing in the near future?
It will of course take time. And determination. The challenge is immense, and one generation will probably not be enough to make deep cuts in our dependence on fossil fuels. But already, multiple solutions herald real progress.
We know that we can change the course of history. Provided we remember that, and provided we are willing to change our habits, our actions today will provide lessons for the future.
H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco officially became ruler of Monaco in 2005. In 2006, he created the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which supports sustainable and ethical projects around the world.
Prince Albert remains committed to environmental policy domestically by favoring the development of public transport, ecological vehicles, renewable energies and high environmental quality buildings. His Foundation works closely with The Climate Group and he is the chair of the EV20 initiative, which promotes the use of electric vehicles.