Cop26: Prince Charles says ‘war-like footing’ needed to tackle climate crisis

Heir to throne argues ‘military-style campaign’ required to realise environmental ambitions

Tom Batchelor
Monday 01 November 2021 00:45
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Related video: Leaders make commitments on climate neutrality and carbon financing ahead of Cop26

Prince Charles is to call for world powers to engage in a “war-like footing” to tackle the climate crisis, with a “military-style campaign” to cajole the private sector into making the changes needed to address urgent environmental issues.

The Prince of Wales will open the Cop26 summit in Glasgow on Monday with a speech welcoming world leaders, just as he did in Paris in 2015 at Cop21.

The 72-year-old royal, who will be accompanied by his wife Camilla, has spent decades campaigning for better protections for the planet.

He is expected to stress the urgency of dealing with the climate crisis, saying: “We have to put ourselves on what might be called a war-like footing.

“We need a vast military-style campaign to marshal the strength of the global private sector. With trillions at its disposal.”

On Sunday, Charles delivered a speech to leaders at the G20 summit in Rome, where he described Cop26 as “the last-chance saloon” and called for “fine words” to be translated into “still finer actions”.

He told the politicians gathered in Italy's capital that the private sector is “eager” to work with them and “ready to play a hugely significant and game-changing role”, saying solutions to major issues “seem possible only if there is a much closer partnership between government, the main multilateral banks, the private sector and its investors”.

He added that, after many years of his own efforts in speaking up about environmental issues, “I am at last sensing a change in attitudes and the build-up of positive momentum”.

The Prince of Wales arriving at the G20 Summit in Rome

The heir to the throne also urged world leaders to heed the words of young people who will bear the brunt of climate change.

“It is impossible not to hear the despairing voices of young people who see you as the stewards of the planet, holding the viability of their future in your hands,” he said.

Prince Charles’ mother, the Queen, had been due to attend but has been advised to rest by her doctors.

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