Nov 1, 2021

Prince Charles COP26 Climate Summit Glasgow Speech Transcript

Prince Charles COP26 Climate Summit Glasgow Speech Transcript
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Charles, Prince of Whales, spoke about climate action at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow on November 1, 2021. Read the transcript of the speech here.

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Prince Charles: (00:01)
Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us just how devastating a global cross border threat can be. Climate change and biodiversity loss are no different. In fact, they pose an even greater existential threat to the extent that we have to put ourselves on what might be called a war like footing. Having myself had the opportunity of consulting many of you over these past 18 months, I know you all carry a heavy burden on your shoulders and you do not need me to tell you that the eyes and hopes of the world are upon you to act with all dispatch and decisively because time has quite literally run out. The recent IPCC Report gave us a clear diagnosis of a scale of the problem. We know what we must do. With a growing global population creating ever increasing demand on the planet’s finite resources, we have to reduce emissions urgently and take action to tackle the carbon already in the atmosphere, including from coal fired power stations.

Prince Charles: (01:27)
Putting a value on carbon, thus making carbon capture solutions more economical, is therefore absolutely critical. Similarly, after billions of years of evolution, nature is our best teacher. In this regard, restoring natural capital, accelerating nature based solutions, and leveraging the circular bio economy will be vital to our efforts. As we tackle this crisis, our efforts cannot be a series of independent initiatives running in parallel. 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. So ladies and gentleman, my plea today is for countries to come together to create the environment that enables every sector of industry to take the action required. We know this will take trillions, not billions of dollars.

Prince Charles: (02:40)
We also know that countries, many of whom are burdened by growing levels of debt, simply cannot afford to go green. Here we need a vast military style campaign to marshall the strength of the global private sector, 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. So how do we do it? First, how do we get the private sector all pulling in the same direction? After nearly two years now of consultation, CEOs have told me that we need to bring together global industries to map out in very practical terms what it will take to make the transition. We know from the pandemic that the private sector can speed up timelines dramatically when everyone agrees on the urgency and the direction. So each sector needs a clear strategy to speed up the process of getting innovations to market.

Prince Charles: (03:58)
Second, who pays and how? We need to align private investment behind these industry strategies to help finance the transition efforts, which means building the confidence of investors so that the financial risk is reduced. Crucially, investment is needed to help transition from coal to clean energy. If we can develop a pipeline of many more sustainable and bankable projects at a sufficient scale, it will attract greater investment. Third, which switches do we flick to enable these objectives? More than 300 of the world’s leading CEOs and institutional investors have told me that alongside the promises countries have made, their nationally determined contributions, they need clear market signals, agree globally so that they have the confidence to invest without the goal posts suddenly moving. This is the framework I’ve offered in the Terra Carta Roadmap, created by my Sustainable Markets Initiative, with nearly 100 specific actions for acceleration.

Prince Charles: (05:23)
Together, we are working to drive trillions of dollars in support of transition across 10 of the most emitting and polluting industries. They include energy, agriculture, transportation, health systems, and fashion. The reality of today’s global supply chains means that industry transition will affect every country and every producer in the world. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the private sector is ready to play its part and to work with governments to find a way forward. Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, many of your countries I know are already feeling the devastating impact of climate change through ever increasing droughts, mudslides, floods, hurricanes, cyclones, and wildfires, as we’ve just seen on that terrifying film.

Prince Charles: (06:26)
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 could 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. Thank you.

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