Prince Charles demands ‘war footing' and private sector trillions to tackle climate crisis

Heir to British throne spoke at opening ceremony of Cop26 conference in Glasgow on Monday

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The world must be put on a “military-style footing” and use both government resources and private sector money to tackle the climate crisis, the Prince of Wales has said.

The prince, who has spent decades trying to raise awareness about the growing crisis, spoke at the opening ceremony of the UN conference in Glasgow on Monday.

“We have to put ourselves on what might be called a warlike footing,” he said.

He urged leaders around the globe to systematically engage with business to solve climate problems.

“Here, we need a vast military-style campaign to marshal the strength of the global private sector,” he said.

“With trillions at its disposal — far beyond global GDP and, with the greatest respect, beyond even the governments of the world's leaders — it offers the only real prospect of achieving fundamental economic transition.”

Prince Charles delivered a speech in Rome on Sunday to leaders at the G20 summit, where he described Cop26 as “the last-chance saloon”.

On Monday, shortly after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke in front of world leaders to rally efforts to make Cop26 the beginning of the end for climate change, the prince said: “The scale and scope of the threat we face call for a global, systems-level solution based on radically transforming our current fossil fuel-based economy to one that is genuinely renewable and sustainable.”

He said that after many years of his own efforts in speaking up about environmental issues, he is “at last sensing a change in attitudes and the build-up of positive momentum".

The prince added that solutions to major issues “seem possible only if there is a much closer partnership between government, the main multilateral banks, the private sector and its investors”.

At Cop26, he also warned national leaders that the cost of inaction outweighed the cost of action.

“Many of your countries are already feeling the devastating impact of climate change, through ever-increasing droughts, mudslides, floods, hurricanes, cyclones and wildfires,” he said.

“Any leader who has had to confront such life-threatening challenges knows that the cost of inaction is far greater than the cost of prevention.

“So, I can only urge you, as the world's decision-makers, to find practical ways of overcoming differences so we can all get down to work, together, to rescue this precious planet and save the threatened future of our young people.”

Updated: November 01, 2021, 5:50 PM