Climate change and biodiversity loss “pose an even greater existential threat to the extent that we have to put ourselves on what might be called a war-like footing,” Britain’s Prince Charles said at the UN Climate Change conference on Monday.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Prince Charles told world leaders and delegates that he knew “you all carry a heavy burden on your shoulders, and you do not need me to tell you that the eyes and hopes of the world are upon you to act with all dispatch, and decisively because time has quite literally run out.”
“The recent IPCC [UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report gave us a clear diagnosis of the scale of the problem,” he said, adding that “what we will do with a growing global population, creating ever increasing demand on the planet’s finite resources.”
Prince Charles, who is at the conference representing the Royal family, after Queen Elizabeth II was advised to take a two-week long rest by her doctors, warned that the world has to “reduce the emissions urgently and take action to tackle the carbon already in the atmosphere, including from coal-fired power stations, putting a value on carbon, thus making carbon capture solutions more economical is therefore absolutely critical.”
“As we tackle this crisis, our efforts cannot be a series of independent initiatives running in parallel, the scale and scope of the threat we face a call for a global systems level solution based on radically transforming our current fossil fuel based economy to one that is genuinely renewable and sustainable,” he added.
“So there's going to be my plea today is for countries to come together to create the environment that enables every sector of industry to take the action required.”
Prince Charles said this will take “trillions, not billions of dollars” and “countries many of whom are burdened by growing levels of debt, simply cannot afford to go green.”
“Here we need a vast military style campaign to marshal the strength of the global private sector with trillions at his disposal, far beyond global GDP, and with the greatest respect, beyond even the governments of the world's leaders.”
Charles also spoke about what the private sector can do to increase efforts.
“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the private sector is ready to play its part,” he said, adding that the cost of inaction is far greater than the cost of prevention.
“I can only urge you to find ways to work together,” Charles said, “to save this precious planet.”
He said: “Crucially, investment is needed to help transition from coal to clean energy.”
“I can only urge you as the world's decision makers, to find practical ways of overcoming differences. So we can all get down to work together to rescue this precious planet and save the Stretton future of our young people.”
The COP26 will continue until Nov. 12 with numerous panels, meetings and side events, all looking for remedies to reduce the levels of global warming by keeping it at 1.5 degrees Celsius.
More than 25,000 delegates from 200 countries are in the conference, where the first two days will see sessions attended by leaders.