Prince Charles pushes eco-agenda in Latin America


June 18, 2010 Updated Mar 9, 2009 at 5:11 PM EDT

Prince Charles dived into the first full day of a Latin America tour Monday, visiting Chile's capital and preparing a speech set to highlight his concern over climate change.

The speech, to be delivered Thursday in Brazil, is expected to promote environmental conservation by saying that thinking "green" can actually be economically beneficial too.

The prince is to argue that we have only "100 months left" to act to save the planet, according to excerpts given in advance to British media.

The heir to Britain's throne arrived in Chile on Sunday with his wife Camilla.

The two spent the night at the British ambassador's residence before going Monday to inspect a monument to Bernardo O'Higgins, a hero of Chile's liberation from Spanish rule who became the country's leader in the early 19th century. They were then to attend the launch of a national energy efficiency campaign.

On Tuesday, the royal couple will attend a reception aboard a navy frigate recently acquired by Britain in the port of Valparaiso, 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of Santiago, and visit a biofuels plant and a vineyard to speak with a group of organic producers and farmers.

The Brazil leg, starting late Wednesday, will concentrate on tropical deforestation issues.

The prince's speech on climate change in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday is being presented as one of his keynote presentations.

Climate change "is one of the UK government?s highest foreign policy priorities in 2009," the British embassy in Brazil said in a statement announcing Prince Charles's visit.

On Friday, the prince, 60, and his wife, 61, will head to the Amazon to see in person the world's biggest rainforest, and to meet a tribe living there.

Prince Charles will wrap up the 10-day tour with a trip to the Galapagos Islands off Ecuador.

The Pacific archipelago is home to abundant and isolated wildlife that formed the research basis for Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution.

But the prince's trip has had some criticism in the British press, with the Daily Mail newspaper saying he was using a hired private Airbus jet to fly just 14 people on his visit, leaving a 322-tonne carbon footprint from the voyage.

The Daily Telegraph focused on the couple starting their Chile leg with tea at the home of one of the prince's earliest girlfriends: Lucia Santa Cruz, who was the daughter of the Chilean ambassador to London 40 years ago.

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