November 28, 2022

LONDON (AFP) – On a tumultuous day in November last year, Britain’s future king stood before world leaders to cry out that they must “act with all might and decisiveness” to confront a common enemy.

The apparent call – in the vast, windowless hall of the Glasgow Conference Center at the opening of the United Nations climate conference – was about a cause dear to then-Prince Charles.

He said climate change and biodiversity loss are no different from the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world. “In fact, they pose an even greater existential threat, to the point that we have to set ourselves on what might be called a war-like foundation.”

He warned leaders that time is running out to reduce emissions, urging them to press ahead with reforms that “fundamentally transform our current fossil fuel-based economy into a truly renewable and sustainable economy.”

“We need a broad, military-style campaign to mobilize the power of the global private sector,” he said, adding that the trillions at companies’ disposal would far exceed what governments could muster and provide “the only real prospect of achieving the underlying economy.” transition.”

It was a fierce call to become pregnant in contrast to the sweet plea made by his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in a video message that evening.

For decades, Charles was one of Britain’s most prominent environmental voices, blasting pollution diseases. Now that he is king, it is inevitable that he will be more careful in his words and should stay away from politics and government policy in accordance with the traditions of a constitutional monarchy in Britain.

“Charles won’t have much freedom of maneuver now that he’s king,” said Robert Hazell, an expert on British constitutional affairs at University College London.

“All his letters are written or audited by the government,” Hazel said. If he makes an impromptu statement that appears to be contrary to government policy, the press will pounce on him for pointing out the contradiction, and the government will restrain him; He will have to be less forthright than he has been in the past.”

However, many say he is unlikely to abruptly stop discussing climate change and the environment – not least because they are issues that rise above political ideology.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said last week That it would be “entirely acceptable” for King to advocate for climate action, even though his role is intended to be apolitical.

“It is important that the monarchy stay away from partisan political issues, but there are issues like climate change where I think if he chooses to continue to make statements in this area, I think that is perfectly acceptable,” Albanese told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“It has to be something above politics, the need to act on climate change,” he added.

Maintaining silence on the climate may be particularly difficult for Charles in light of the current contradictory position of the Conservative government. While the government says it remains committed to the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” by mid-century, Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg says Britain must continue to burn the fossil fuels at its disposal.

“We need to think about extracting every cubic inch of gas from the North Sea,” he said in a recent radio interview, citing the need for energy security.

In the past, Rees-Mogg has spoken out against building more onshore wind farms in Britain and has questioned the impact of rising carbon dioxide emissions on the climate, although experts say the global warming effects of increased carbon dioxide levels are clear.

New British Prime Minister Liz Truss also favors exploiting the country’s natural gas reserves, including exploring hydraulic fracturing in parts of the UK to boost the country’s domestic gas supplies and reduce dependence on international gas prices. Earlier this month, the Truss government lifted a 2019 ban on the controversial practice of shale gas fracking in England.

As environment minister in 2014, Truss widely called solar farms a “scourge of the landscape” and eliminated subsidies to farmers and landowners for building them.

Speaking in a 2018 BBC documentary on Charles’ 70th birthday, his sons William and Harry revealed their father’s frustration at the world’s failure to tackle environmental challenges. Remember how, as a teenager, Charles would make them go collecting trash during the holidays and cared about the need to turn off the lights.

Such small actions pale in comparison to the air miles King has flown over his life jets around the world – though he claims to have converted his Aston Martin to run on a surplus of white wine and cheese.

Charles’ lament that many people “simply don’t care about the science” regarding climate change has also been invoked by those who point out that he has been a longtime advocate of unproven natural remedies.

Some of Charles’ subjects want him to continue the fight against climate change, even as king.

However, the new king himself admitted that his role as an environmental warrior could not continue, at least in its current form.

“I’m not that stupid,” he told the BBC four years ago when asked if he would continue to be as active as before.

He explained that Prince’s fights are not King’s fights, but he made it clear that they could still be fought by the next Prince William.

In his first address as Sovereign to the Nation on September 9, Charles affirmed this, saying, “It will no longer be possible for me to give so much of my time and energies to charities and to the causes in which I care most.”

“But I know this important work will continue in the trusted hands of others,” he added.

Like Charles, William, 40, has made climate change one of his main advocacy themes and last year made his mark by awarding him his first Earthshot Award, an ambitious “legacy project” the Prince founded to award millions of pounds in grants for the environment. Initiatives around the world over the next ten years. However, his efforts have been undermined by criticism that his environmental charity has invested in a bank that is one of the world’s biggest backers of fossil fuels..


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The Associated Press’s climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. Learn more about AP .’s Climate Initiative over here. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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