- The King issued a call to arms, warning dangers facing us are ‘no longer distant’
King Charles warned yesterday that man is carrying out a ‘vast, frightening experiment’ on the planet and our grandchildren ‘will be living with the consequences of what we did or didn’t do’.
In his opening speech to the Cop28 climate summit in Dubai, the monarch issued a call to arms, warning that the dangers facing us ‘are no longer distant risks’ and urging global leaders to commit to ‘transformational action’.
The King was the only head of state to be independently invited to address the gathering of world leaders in recognition of his lifelong environmental campaigning.
Once derided as a green eccentric, many of his beliefs such as organic farming and campaigning against plastics in the ocean have become mainstream policy.
Speaking to more than 60 prime ministers, politicians and presidents, Charles said: ‘I have spent a large proportion of my life trying to warn of the existential threats facing us over global warming, climate change and biodiversity loss.
The King was the only head of state to be independently invited to address the gathering of world leaders in recognition of his lifelong environmental campaigning
The King used his speech to highlight recent cyclones in the South Pacific and Caribbean, flooding in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan and drought in East Africa, as well as US and European wildfires
A woman enters the sea from a beach where wildfires destroyed the woods, at Glystra near the village of Gennadi in the southern part of the Greek island of Rhodes
Volunteers rescue sheep from a burning farm during a wild fire in the village of Chasia, near Athens
‘I pray with all my heart that Cop28 will be another critical turning point towards genuine transformational action at a time when, already, as scientists have been warning for so long, we are seeing alarming tipping points being reached.’
He warned that while important progress had been made, mankind was ‘dreadfully far off track’ on targets including carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
‘I have seen across the Commonwealth, and beyond, countless communities which are unable to withstand repeated shocks, whose lives and livelihoods are laid waste by climate change,’ he said, highlighting recent cyclones in the South Pacific and Caribbean, flooding in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan and drought in East Africa, as well as US and European wildfires.
‘Surely real action is required to stem the growing toll of its most vulnerable victims? As I have tried to say on many occasions, unless we rapidly repair and restore Nature’s unique economy… our own economy and survivability will be imperilled.’
His Majesty added: ‘We are carrying out a vast, frightening experiment of changing every ecological condition… at a pace that far outstrips Nature’s ability to cope. With what we are witnessing, our choice now is a starker – and darker – one: How dangerous are we actually prepared to make our world?’
He said it was crucial to unite the public, private, philanthropic and non-governmental sectors to work more effectively to play their part in delivering climate action.
He called for a fairer international financial system to unlock trillions of dollars for the greater good.
His well-received speech, written with the support of the Government, concluded: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, in 2050 our grandchildren won’t be asking what we said, they will be living with the consequences of what we did or didn’t do. So, if we act together to safeguard our precious planet, the welfare of all our people will surely follow.
‘The Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth.’