Prince Charles urges China to act on climate change and calls for polluters to pay more

Watch Prince Charles' full opening speech at the COP 15 UN Biodiversity Conference hosted by China.

The Prince of Wales has taken his fight to help save the planet to the world's biggest polluter: China.

He’s given a speech at the opening of the UN Biodiversity Conference in the Chinese city of Kunming.

Prince Charles has called for polluters to pay more for the carbon they emit and for a price to be placed on the value of nature.

He hopes those measures will address economic imbalances which make it profitable for companies to destroy nature and it’s most valuable ecosystems.

Prince Charles called for polluters to pay more for the carbon they emit. Credit: AP

Ahead of the big Cop26 UN Climate Change Summit in Scotland next month, the Prince is hoping he might be able to help get China over the line in making significant commitments to cutting its carbon emissions and reducing the impact of its rapid economic growth on the natural world.

He urged China to follow the lead of its ancestors as he pointed to how Chinese civilisation has had, for thousands of years, “an intimate understanding of nature”.

President Xi Jinping had invited the Prince to make the opening remarks at the conference which suggests that the Royal might have a better chance at bringing the Chinese on board than many politicians.

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Charles told the conference today, in a recorded video message, that the world must put nature at the heart of our economy because the “well-being and livelihoods of future generations depend on us preserving the biodiversity that still exists”.

He also argued that a “polluter pays principle” would accelerate the green economy by “properly pricing carbon” - by which he meant making it more expensive.

The UK government still has much work to do to make a success of the Cop26 summit it is hosting but ministers hope the “soft power” of the Royal Family might help get some world leaders over the line.

The Queen and Prince Charles will both attend the COP 26 conference which will be hosted by the UK in Glasgow next month. Credit: PA

The heir to the throne called Cop26 “the gamechanger the world so desperately needs”.

Prince Charles will attend the summit in Glasgow, along with the Queen, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Charles told the summit in China this morning that humans are sustained by nature and now is the time to act.

“When we protect lands and oceans, we in fact protect ourselves: nature bounces back, bringing with her all the benefits on which life depends.”