“‘Climate change and biodiversity loss are no different [from the cross-border threat of COVID-19]. In fact, they pose an even greater existential threat to the extent that we have to put ourselves on what might be called a war-like footing.’”
That’s how Prince Charles urged the leadership of the world’s richest and most powerful nations to reconsider what to date has been a voluntary and slow-moving fight to slow global warming, calm rising oceans and stop deforestation.
He addressed the U.N.’s Conference of Parties, or COP26, a two-week event in Glasgow that U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry once suggested would be a “last, best hope” for durable action on climate change.
It’s not the first time the heir to Britain’s throne pushed for a war-like effort to fight global warming. In September 2020, for instance, Charles called for a “Marshall-like plan for nature, people and planet.”
The Prince of Wales said Monday it will take greater spending than some countries may imagine but that the effort must infiltrate the global economy. He urged “countries to come together to create the environment that enables every sector of industry to take the action required. We know this will take trillions, not billions of dollars.”
Charles stumbled when ascending the stairs to the dais but appeared fine and delivered his remarks without incident.
The Prince of Wales drew from a recent “code red” report from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which he said had provided “a clear diagnosis of a scale of the problem — we know what we must do.”
Slowing emissions must include the pollution from coal-fired power stations, he said. Western nations have emphasized the need for China, India and others to take a harder line on burning coal.
Charles also said “putting a value on carbon, thus making carbon capture solutions more economical, is therefore absolutely critical.”
President Biden, speaking Monday, also listed carbon capture among his policy initiatives. It’s a private-sector technology, which isn’t yet scalable, that Biden’s political opposition typically strongly pushes. Carbon capture and storage involves grabbing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from industrial processes, such as steel and cement production, or from the burning of fossil fuels, directly on site.
Charles, and other royals, shoulder criticism for the large carbon footprint of flights and other secure transport that their official duties require.
But Charles has embraced alternative fuels at least for his personal driving.
He told the BBC, “my old Aston Martin, which I’ve had for 51 years, runs on, can you believe this, surplus English white wine and whey from the cheese process.”