The Prince of Wales continued his campaign to fix the climate crisis this morning, as he attended the G20 summit in Rome and addressed delegates on the urgency of the planet’s fight to survive.
At the invitation of Italian Prime Minister Draghi, Prince Charles spoke about the importance of acting immediately in order to halt the changes which will cause so much damage to the earth and cost many lives. He emphasised the ‘overwhelming responsibility’ that leaders have ‘to generations yet unborn’.
The speech opened: “You have many pressing issues of the day but none is more pressing than the future health of our planet and of the people who inhabit it. 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.
The invitation to speak was in recognition of the Royal’s decades of work highlighting the growing environmental crisis as a result of climate change. Charles arrived in Italy last night.
“Now after, I suppose, very nearly 50 years of trying to raise awareness of the growing climate and environmental crisis, I am at last sensing a change in attitudes and the build-up of positive momentum.
“As you know, listening is often more important than speaking and I have listened closely to leaders of many countries, particularly Commonwealth nations, whose communities are some of the most climate–vulnerable on this Earth.
“It is impossible not to hear the despairing voices of young people who see you [the leaders of the G20] as the stewards of the planet, holding the viability of their future in your hands,” Charles added. “And I have listened to those leaders of the private sector who are now more and more anxious to invest in the projects and new technologies that could establish a more rapid transition to sustainability.”
Finance is at the centre of the solution, thinks the future King, citing it will take trillions of dollars to achieve the 1.5c temperature target. “No government has those sorts of sums – which is why I have spent so much time over the past nineteen months trying to form a global alliance amongst the private sector, as I have long believed it holds the ultimate key to the solutions we seek.”
The Prince gave an update on the Sustainable Markets Initiative he launched last year, and its progress: “Some 300 of the world’s top C.E.O.’s from every sector of the economy, including financial services, representing well over sixty trillion dollars of assets under management, joined my Sustainable Markets Initiative and demonstrated how acutely sensitive they are to the way both consumers, who control more than sixty per cent of global G.D.P., and shareholders who are now demanding changes in the way businesses behave. Which is why they want to make a big difference with the kind of investment only they can provide.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, COP26 begins in Glasgow tomorrow. Quite literally, it is the last chance saloon,” he commented.
A positive note rounded off the address, with Charles saying: “It is 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.”
“I am so grateful to have this chance to talk to you here today and to shine a light not just on how far we’ve come, but also on how far we still need to go.”
Tomorrow, Royals will be in Glasgow to attend COP26, the United Nations conference on climate change, which is being heralded as the last chance to make a difference in the crisis. The Queen has pulled out of appearing due to advice to continue resting from her doctors, but will send a video message.