LONDON – Amid lower hopes for what is seen by many as the last chance world leaders see to tackle the climate crisis, Britain’s Prince Charles will call for “war-like” efforts at the opening of a major UN climate summit on Monday.
The heir to the throne will help kick off the nearly two-week COP26 meeting in Glasgow, Scotland. President Joe Biden arrives Monday and joins representatives from more than 100 nations to develop new goals to reduce emissions and prevent the effects of climate change.
“We need a huge military-style campaign to mobilize the strength of the global private sector,” said 72-year-old Charles, according to excerpts from comments to the media. “With trillions available.”
“We have to put ourselves on a war-like basis,” he will say.
Charles, a long-time passionate environmentalist, has historically called the summit the “last chance saloon”.
The summit, postponed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will become a family affair for the royals. In addition to his wife Camilla, Charles will also attend the conference from his son and daughter-in-law Prince William and his wife Kate. Originally the participation of Queen Elizabeth II was planned, but canceled her appearance on the advice of the doctors. Instead, it will provide a recorded video address.
Existing national climate pledges have set the world on the path to a global temperature increase of 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, rather than the 1.5 degree target of the 2015 Paris Agreement, according to a Report released last week through the UN environmental program.
Biden, who has made tackling climate change a priority, will come to the summit after spending the weekend in Rome at the G20 summit. He is supported by 12 cabinet members and senior administrators.
However, the question that remains is how much Biden can do in terms of climate commitments. Despite announcing his $ 1.75 trillion climate and social spending plan, he has yet to push it through. Its framework will put the US on track to meet its emissions reduction targets, according to the White House.
There were also several notable no-shows for the Glasgow summit. Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro are not expected. On Sunday, Biden referred to the absence of Russia and China in the G20 as a reason why the climate commitments of the meeting in Rome did not go far enough.
Prior to the opening ceremony, journalists and other conference attendees posted photos of long lines on social media to attend the conference.
Charles, who will be accompanied by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the opening, also spoke at the start of the COP21 climate conference, which took place in Paris in 2015.
“They see this opportunity, they see this issue as absolutely crucial,” said royal commentator Daisy McAndrew of the Royals.
“This is an issue that the entire royal family – the Queen, Prince Philip when he was alive, Prince Charles, Prince William – all really, really feel like that as members of the royal family is a safe area to speak about openly without running the risk of being viewed as partisan. “
Last month, the prince said he understood the frustration of young climate activists that enough was not being done.
“People should really realize how desperate so many young people are,” Charles said in an interview with the BBC.
William has followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, both of whom were environmental advocates. He called the summit “a milestone for the future of our planet”, in a tweet on Monday.
In Glasgow, he said that he would be accompanied by finalists for the Earthshot Prize, which he created to find technological or political solutions to the effects of climate change.
Juliette Maigne contributed.