He spoke out in an unprecedented address to the G20 gathering of leading presidents and prime ministers in Rome before delegates flew to Britain last night to begin critical climate talks.
His Royal Highness will deputise for the Queen when he addresses today’s official opening ceremony – while Her Majesty is due to send a video message as she recuperates at Windsor Castle after a recent hospital stay.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, TV naturalist Sir David Attenborough, 95, and United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres will also deliver speeches at a conference notable for the absence of China and Russia – two of the world’s biggest polluters.
But today’s speech represents a landmark moment for Prince Charles who has previously warned of catastrophic consequences if global temperatures are allowed to rise over 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
And he is due to build on the themes of his well-received Rome speech yesterday when he said that global business leaders wanted to invest in “new technologies that could establish a more rapid transition to sustainability”.
“The planet’s health today will dictate the health, happiness and economic prosperity of generations to come – hence our overwhelming responsibility to generations yet unborn,” warned Prince Charles.
Citing his work of “very nearly 50 years of trying to raise awareness of the growing climate and environmental crisis”, he said that he sensed “positive momentum” building up.
And turning to G20 leaders, he told them that it was “impossible not to hear the despairing voices of young people” whose futures depend on stronger leadership from “the stewards of the planet”. “Ladies and gentlemen, COP26 begins in Glasgow tomorrow. Quite literally, it is the last chance saloon. We must now translate fine words into still finer actions,” he concluded.
“And as the enormity of the climate challenge dominates peoples’ conversations, from news rooms to living rooms, and as the future of humanity and Nature herself are at stake, it is surely time to set aside our differences and grasp this unique opportunity to launch a substantial green recovery by putting the global economy on a confident, sustainable trajectory and, thus, save our planet.”
Low-lying land will still disappear with COP26 deal, says Alok Sharma
ALOK Sharma has told the formal opening session of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow that it is the last, best chance to keep temperature limits to 1.5C.
As he assumed the role of COP26 president, Mr Sharma said he believed the conference could launch a decade of ever-increasing ambition and action.
However, he warned countries gathered for the talks, which aim to prevent dangerous temperature rises, that they would succeed or fail as one.
The Cabinet minister’s stark words came after hours after he warned that parts of the world will still disappear under water even if COP26 achieves its climate target.
Mr Sharma told delegates that the window to keeping temperatures to 1.5C – beyond which scientists warn the most dangerous impacts of climate change, rising seas and extreme weather will be felt – was closing.
Pointing to devastating impacts around the world, including droughts, heatwaves, hurricanes and floods, he said: “We know our shared planet is changing for the worse and we can only address that together through this international system.”
Mr Sharma reminded countries that they had agreed at the Paris summit six years ago to pursue efforts to limit temperatures to 1.5C under the Paris Agreement.
He said he believed that the conference could resolve the outstanding issues that reached a political impasse at the G20 summit in Rome.
Meanwhile Patricia Espinosa, the United Nations climate chief, told delegates that the world stood at a “pivotal point in history”.
Lord Deben: How to win public support
A MAJOR PUBLIC information campaign should be launched to address the public’s “concerns, questions and myths” about climate change.
Lord Deben, chair of Climate Change Committee, makes the call in The Yorkshire Post as the COP26 summit begins.
“When information is available and understood, there is greater support for climate action,” writes the former Cabinet minister who says this initiative should run alongside expert advice “about how to reduce emissions”.
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