LONDON (AP) — On a blustery day in November last year, Britain’s future king stood before world leaders and called on them to take on a common enemy “with all due diligence and decisiveness.” should work from”.

In the sprawling hall of a Glasgow convention center at the opening of the United Nations climate conference – the clarion call was about an issue dear to the heart of then-Prince Charles.


He said that climate change and loss of biodiversity is no different from the global COVID-19 pandemic. “In fact, they pose an even greater existential threat, to the extent that we have to put ourselves on what could be called a war-like basis.”

He warned leaders that time was running out to reduce emissions, urging them to push for reforms that would “transform our current fossil fuel-based economy into a truly renewable and sustainable economy.” are doing.”


“We need a massive military-style campaign to strengthen the power of the global private sector,” he said, adding that the trillions at the disposal of businesses would go far beyond what governments could raise and “fundamental presented the only real possibility of economic attainment. transition.”

It was a stark call to arms, in contrast to the gentle appeal given by his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in a video message that evening.


For decades, Charles has been one of Britain’s most prominent environmental voices, blasting the evils of pollution. Now that he is king, he is obliged to be more careful with his words and should stay away from politics and government policy in line with the traditions of Britain’s constitutional monarchy.

“Charles will have much less freedom of maneuver now that he is king,” said Robert Hazell, an expert on British constitutional affairs at University College London.


Hazel added that “all of his speeches are written or censored by the government. “If he makes an immediate comment that seems to contradict government policy, the press will point out the inconsistency, and The government will rein it in. It will have to be much less obvious than in the past.”

Still, many say it’s unlikely he’ll suddenly stop discussing climate change and the environment — not least because they’re issues that transcend political ideology.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albany said last week that it would be “perfectly acceptable” for the monarch to advocate for climate action, even if the role was apolitical.

“It is important that the monarchy distance itself from party political issues,” Albany told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. But there are issues like climate change where I think if they choose to continue to make statements in that area, I think that’s perfectly acceptable.

“It has to be something that transcends politics, climate change needs to be acted upon,” he added.

It may be particularly difficult for Charles to stay silent on climate in light of the controversial stance of the current Conservative government.

Although the government says it is committed to its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” by mid-century, the administration led by new prime minister Liz Truss is encouraging more North Sea oil drilling. and withdrawing the ban on fracking. To increase domestic energy supply.

The UK government officially confirmed on Thursday that it is lifting a 2019 ban on the controversial shale gas extraction method – fracking – or hydraulic fracking, in England. Officials brushed off criticism from environmental groups and argued the move would reduce Britain’s dependence on international gas prices, which have increased during Russia’s war on Ukraine.

The Truss government also announced a new round of licensing for companies to explore for oil and gas in the North Sea.

Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg has said the UK should continue to burn the fossil fuels at its disposal.

“We need to think about getting every last cubic inch of gas out of the North Sea,” he said in a recent radio interview, referring to the need for energy security.

In the past Rees-Mogg has spoken out against building more on-shore wind farms in the UK and has questioned the impact that rising carbon dioxide emissions are having on the climate, although experts say The warming effects of rising CO2 levels are clear.

As environment secretary in 2014, Truss branded large-scale solar farms “a blight on the landscape” and scrapped subsidies to farmers and landowners to build them.

Speaking in a 2018 BBC documentary to mark Charles’ 70th birthday, his sons William and Harry revealed the frustration their father felt at the world’s failure to tackle environmental challenges. . They recalled how as teenagers, Charles would make them pick up the rubbish during holidays and obsess over the need to turn off the lights.

Such small gestures pale in comparison to the air miles the monarch has racked up throughout her life jetting around the world – although she has claimed she runs her Aston Martin on extra white wine and cheese. What has changed?

Charles’ lament that many people “just don’t pay attention to the science” on climate change has also been called out by those who point out that he has long been an advocate of unproven naturopathic treatments.

Some of Charles’s subjects want him to continue fighting climate change as king.

Yet the new king himself has admitted that his role as an environmental warrior cannot be sustained, at least in its current form.

“I’m not that stupid,” he told the BBC four years ago when asked if he would continue his activism.

She explained that the prince’s battles are not the king’s, but she clarified that they could still be fought with Prince William, next in line.

In his first address to the nation as sovereign on 9 September, Charles emphasized that “it will no longer be possible for me to devote so much of my time and energy to the charities and causes which I worry a lot.”

“But I know that this important work will go into the trusted hands of others,” he added.

Like Charles, William, 40, has made climate change one of his main advocacy topics. Last year he made his mark by awarding the first Earthshot Prize, an ambitious “legacy project” founded by the Prince to award millions of pounds in grants to environmental initiatives around the world over the next 10 years. However, his efforts have been undermined by criticism that his conservation charity has invested in a bank that is one of the world’s biggest supporters of fossil fuels.


Associated Press climate and environmental coverage is supported by several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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