Prince Charles: green economy must be at heart of post-pandemic recovery

The Prince of Wales tells Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week we have an opportunity to rethink how we live and do business

Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales wearing a protective face covering to combat the spread of the coronavirus, visits the Gloucestershire Vaccination Centre at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital on December 17, 2020 in Gloucester, central England, to meet with front line health and care workers administering and receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.  / AFP / POOL / Chris Jackson

The Prince of Wales called on the global community to place nature, and an ambition to bring the world's emissions to net zero, at the heart of how it operates.

Prince Charles spoke at the Abu Dhabi-hosted Global Energy Forum on Thursday, where he discussed the private sector’s role in a more sustainable future.

More than 200 organisations, including Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, have committed to be carbon neutral in the next two decades.

"It is only too clear that energy systems and green energy transition are vital to achieving the sustainable future that the world so desperately needs," he said.

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Today, reflecting on all that we have endured together, it is clearer than ever that human health and planetary health are fundamentally interconnected

“In recent years we have made progress in forging consensus in the direction humanity must take and the critical milestones we must meet by the middle of the century.

“However, consensus, intention, goals, commitments and targets are only the first steps.

“The next, though long overdue, must be practical steps."

As a champion of climate action for more than four decades, Prince Charles said what the world does next will determine whether future generations will look back on a series of broken promises, or reflect on a tipping point where the world shifted to a "more sustainable, equitable and prosperous trajectory".

He said the pandemic had brought unimaginable devastation to national economies, but a green recovery offered an unprecedented opportunity to rethink the ways in which we live and do business.

Speaking from the UK, Prince Charles touched on some of the crucial actions set out in the earlier released Terra Carta; a 10-point strategy for businesses that could help the world achieve a sustainable future by 2030.

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“The Terra Carta offers the basis of a recovery plan; one that will harness the innovation and resources of the private sector,” he said.

“Today, reflecting on all that we have endured together, it is clearer than ever that human health and planetary health are fundamentally interconnected.

“We have seen how a global crisis can only be addressed with unprecedented levels of ambition, and that necessity, combined with science and transformative levels of resources, can deliver action at extraordinary scale.”

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The Prince of Wales said companies needed to promote emerging technologies that support sustainability, by providing easier access to capital.

Turning his attention to renewable energy, he said the only way to reduce emissions was to accelerate the development, implementation and scaling up of carbon capture.

“As we commit to net zero, we must expedite and communicate a rational structured energy transition with clear road maps," he said.

“We must entice regional and global co-operation around green and renewable energy production.

“The energy transition is a global one and we must all move together. For smaller states, economies of scale can only be achieved through regional co-operation.”

With today’s technology, he said it was important to continue exploring the potential ways of capturing existing emissions.

And although it would not address legacy carbon that has already polluted the planet, it could offset further damage done in the future.

To conclude, he said achieving a sustainable future is the growth story of our time and could help fuel a post-pandemic recovery.

“As we look to a brighter, more stable future let us join forces and waste no more time,” he said.

“With the clock ticking it really is up to us to make each day count."

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