COP26: Prince Charles calls for ‘war-like footing’ to tackle climate crisis

"I urge you, as the world's decision makers, to find practical ways of overcoming differences"

Prince Charles has argued that a “war-like footing” is needed to tackle the climate crisis, as he opened the COP26 summit in Glasgow.

The Prince of Wales called for a “vast military-style campaign” to address urgent environmental issues.

The royal, who has spent decades trying to raise awareness of the growing crisis, spoke at the opening ceremony of the major climate conference hosted by the UK in Scotland on Monday.

He stressed the urgency of dealing with climate change, saying: “We have to put ourselves on what might be called a war-like footing."

He went on to urge leaders across the world to systematically engage with business to solve the climate problems Earth faces.

He said: “We need a vast military-style campaign to marshal the strength of the global private sector. With trillions at its disposal”.

Charles also delivered a speech in Rome on Sunday, to leaders at the G20 summit.

During those remarks, he described COP26 as “the last-chance saloon”, as he called for “fine words” to be translated into “still finer actions”.

"Time is quite literally running out"

He told the politicians gathered in Italy’s capital that the private sector is “eager” to work with them and “ready to play a hugely significant and game-changing role”, saying solutions to major issues “seem possible only if there is a much closer partnership between government, the main multilateral banks, the private sector and its investors”.

He added that, after many years of his own efforts in speaking up about environmental issues, “I am at last sensing a change in attitudes and the build-up of positive momentum”.

The COP27 climate conference - what you need to know

What is COP27? When and where will it be?

Each year, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meets at what is called the Conference of the Parties (abbreviated as COP) to discuss the world's progress on climate change and how to tackle it.

COP27 is the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties summit which will be held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt from November 6-18.

Who is going?

Leaders of the 197 countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) - a treaty that came into force in 1994 - are invited to the summit.

These are some of the world leaders that will be attending COP27:

  • UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is attending the conference, after initially saying he wouldn't as he was too busy focusing on the economy within his first weeks in office.

  • US President Joe Biden and his experienced climate envoy, John Kerry, will appear at the talks.

  • France President Emmanuel Macron will also be among the heads of state from around the world staying in Egypt.

King Charles III will not be attending COP27, despite being a staunch advocate for the environment. The decision was made jointly by Buckingham Palace and former prime minister Liz Truss.

Elsewhere, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will not attend the talks just as they decided to do for COP26.

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What is it hoping to achieve?

1. Ensure full implementation of the Paris Agreement and putting negotiations into concrete actions - included within this is the target of limiting global warming to well below 2C.

2. Cementing progress on the critical workstreams of mitigation, adaptation, finance and loss and damage, while stepping up finance notably to tackle the impacts of climate change.

3. Enhancing the delivery of the principles of transparency and accountability throughout the UN Climate Change process.

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Prince Charles was joined at COP26 by Prince William, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge.Earlier this month the heir to the throne shared his "pride" at son, William, after the launch of his first Earthshot climate change awards.

The Queen has withdrawn from visiting after being advised by her doctors to rest - she will address the conference virtually instead.

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