“All bathtubs should be banned. Just imagine it!”, he exclaimed in an interview published in the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper on Saturday.
Carl XVI Gustaf said that the idea had come to him the day before the interview, as he was going through his morning routine and was forced to run a bath, because the room in which he was staying lacked a shower.
“It took a lot of fresh water and energy,” he said. “It struck me so clearly: it’s not wise that I have to do this. I really felt ashamed then, I really did.”
Later in the interview, he cautioned that the suggestion was a little “lighthearted”.
“But there is a truth there,” he maintained. “Those small details have an enormous effect.”
Carl XVI Gustaf, who will be in Paris on November 30 for the conference’s opening, has long maintained an interest in the environment, taking part in both the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972, and the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
“When was it that Al Gore started?” he asked, when pressed on when he realised the importance of climate change. “That was the same time I wanted to highlight this issue, but he beat me to it. And he was better suited as a lecturer.”
The king, who is notorious for his large fleet of automobiles, explained that he already often used an environmental car when he drove into central Stockholm from the royal family’s residence at the Drottningholm Palace.
“I have a hybrid car right now, so when I drive into town, I drive completely electric,” he said.
He said he was also attempting to reduce his consumption of meat to cut emissions. “Personally I am eating less meat,” he said.
Sweden should be commended for its own role in pushing for an international climate deal starting with the 1972 conference, he argued.
“Stockholm held the first big conference, which is something we should be proud of,” he said.. “Since then this issue has been discussed around the world.”
He said he was confident that the Paris conference would not collapse in failure as happened at the Copenhagen Summit in 2009.
“There’s a feeling in the air that we’re going to manage this,” he said.