Mankind must go green or die, says Prince Charles

Environmental damage left unchecked would be ‘suicide on a grand scale’, Prince warns

The Prince of Wales has warned that mankind is on the brink of “committing suicide on a grand scale” unless urgent progress is made in tackling green issues such as carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, intensive farming and resource depletion.

Adopting uncharacteristically apocalyptic language, the Prince said the world was heading towards a “terrifying point of no return” and that future generations faced an “unimaginable future” on a toxic planet.

In a pre-recorded speech broadcast in acceptance of an lifetime environmental achievement award, the Prince said green views that had once seen him written off as a “crank” were now backed by hard evidence.

He told the gala ceremony for the 7th International Green Awards at Battersea Power Station in London that fossil fuels and supplies of fresh water were under pressure while the stability of weather patterns was threatened and “vast amounts of CO2” were still pumped into the atmosphere. “Humanity and the Earth will soon begin to suffer some very grim consequences,” he said.

“It’s therefore an act of suicide on a grand scale to ride so roughshod over those checks and balances and flout nature’s necessary limits as blatantly as we do.

“The longer we go on ignoring what is already happening and denying what will happen in the future, the more profoundly we condemn our grandchildren and their children to an unbearably toxic and unstable existence. We simply have to turn the tide.”

The Prince has been criticised throughout his life for getting involved in public affairs, writing to ministers and airing his views on contentious subjects ranging from architecture to alternative medicine.

His most controversial intervention came in 2010 when a £3bn scheme to redevelop the Chelsea Royal Barracks was dropped after the Prince lobbied the Prime Minister of Qatar over the sustainability of the project describing it as a “gigantic experiment with the very soul of our city”. The Prince said that the lifetime achievement award was an acknowledgement for what he described as his “rather inadequate efforts” to create change.

“All those years ago when I began to see that this could be so, I found myself labelled with every term that describes a crank,” he said.

“I don’t actually recommend it as a pastime but, extraordinary as it may seem, nowadays … that intuitive feeling has been backed up by a mass of scientific evidence in every possible field confirming that our predominant approach is having a very adverse effect on nature.”

However Dr Benny Peiser, director of Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation, said the Prince’s views were still out of step with mainstream thinking.

“He is really a good representative of the environmental movement as such and it is not a personal issue,” he said. But he added that the “extreme alarm and extreme concern” was “over the top and not helpful to the debate”.

“It doesn’t convince any governments or any ministers and in the end it is over the top and won’t be heard.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
News
people
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?