Prince Charles has warned that “we must now put ourselves on a warlike footing” and approach the urgency of the climate crisis with a “military-style campaign”.
The Prince of Wales delivered a keynote address at the opening ceremony of Climate Week NYC, which brings together global leaders to discuss climate action plans in the race towards a net-zero emissions future.
Speaking in a video message recorded in the grounds of Balmoral, Prince Charles said that climate change “is now rapidly becoming a comprehensive catastrophe that will dwarf the impact of the coronavirus pandemic".
"At this late stage I can see no other way forward but to call for a Marshall-like plan for nature, people and planet.”
He added: “We must now put ourselves on a warlike footing, approaching our action from the perspective of a military-style campaign.”
Climate Week is made up of more than 350 events with many being held virtually this year due to the coronavirus.
It kicked off on Monday as leaders prepare to meet at the UN General Assembly in New York to discuss global challenges, including the climate crisis.
The royal, a keen environmentalist, said the Covid-19 pandemic is a "window of opportunity" to reset the economy for a greener future.“Without swift and immediate action, at an unprecedented pace and scale, we will miss the window of opportunity to 'reset' for ... a more sustainable and inclusive future,” he said.
Helen Clarkson, CEO of the Climate Group, which is behind the weeklong event, said: “His Royal Highness’s address was incredibly moving – it is heartening to hear him and so many of our other speakers call for such large scale action.
"Invoking the Marshall Plan harks back to a very special moment in history, when the US led by example on the biggest issue of the day. I hope that decision makers in the US hear that call and take note.”
The Prince of Wales, 71, who tested positive for coronavirus in March, previously urged members of the Commonwealth to come together to tackle climate change.
He called on business and political leaders to embrace a radical reshaping of economies and markets in order to tackle the crisis at the Davos summit back in January.
Last month a study suggested the global lockdown will have a "negligible" impact on rising temperatures but a green recovery could avert dangerous climate change.
Experts led by the University of Leeds found that lockdowns caused a fall in transport use, as well as reductions in industry and commercial operations, cutting the greenhouse gases and pollutants caused by vehicles and other activities.
However the impact is only short-lived, with analysis showing that even if some measures last until the end of 2021, global temperatures will only be 0.01C lower than expected by 2030.
The Press Association contributed to this report
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