'We must change our ways’ to fight climate change, says Queen Elizabeth

The monarch made the admission during a visit to the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute

Britain's Queen Elizabeth has voiced her concern about climate change during a visit to Edinburgh, where she told experts that "we are going to have to change the way we do things".

The queen, accompanied by her daughter Princess Anne, visited the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute on Thursday to learn about its work.

It was her final engagement as part of the traditional Royal Week visit to Scotland.

Dressed in a jade green Angela Kelly outfit with a ruby and diamond brooch, the queen arrived at the University of Edinburgh in a hybrid Land Rover, and immediately remarked that "it's electric" as she left the vehicle.

The queen was speaking with experts from Climate XChange, an organisation that provides independent advice and analysis to support the Scottish government, when she commented on the global issue.

"It does mean we are going to have to change the way we do things, really, in the end," she told experts.

The queen has rarely voiced her concern about climate change in public.

Her first acknowledgement about its threat to the planet is believed to have been in conversation with Sir David Attenborough in 2018 when she said: "If countries continue to plant [more trees], it might change the climate again."

Anne Marte Bergseng, a manager at Climate XChange, said that her discussion with the monarch covered "everything, essentially" about a greener future and what that meant for lifestyle.

The queen and Princess Anne also met representatives from the Children's Parliament, who explained their recent contribution to Scotland's Climate Assembly.

The children presented the queen with two rowan trees that will be planted as part of the Queen's Green Canopy, a nationwide planting initiative to create a lasting legacy for her platinum jubilee next year.

Elizabeth has been a staunch advocate of planting trees to offset carbon emissions.

Everyone from scouts and girl guides groups, villages, cities, counties, schools and businesses will be encouraged to plant trees from October to the end of the jubilee year in 2022.

The initiative follows the queen's Commonwealth Canopy, a scheme that encourages Commonwealth countries to protect and plant trees in her honour.

The queen finished the event by unveiling a plaque for the institute and listening to a speech from Prof Peter Mathieson, the principal and vice chancellor of the University of Edinburgh.

Prof Mathieson spoke about the challenges faced by the workforce during the pandemic and what it may mean for the future.

After the presentation, the queen said: "It's very unnatural for us. Obviously we're going to have to change our lives a bit.

"Nothing can be quite normal again, or what we thought."

The tour coincided with the announcement of the Edinburgh Earth Initiative, a project to boost global leadership on the adaption to and mitigation of climate change.

The initiative will be a focal point for the university's research on the climate, and will have an emphasis on supporting global partnerships for solutions.

Meanwhile, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the Cop26 UN climate change conference must be a “global turning point” to help people across the world benefit from the transition to net-zero.

Speaking at the Austrian World Summit, Ms Sturgeon said the talks in Glasgow in November should ensure the environmental crisis is tackled in a fair way.

She was on a panel alongside climate activist Greta Thunberg and UN Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall.

Ms Sturgeon also announced £100,000 ($137,550) of funding for the Global Climate Assembly, which will make recommendations for discussions at the Cop26 summit.

Updated: July 1st 2021, 8:01 PM
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