Prince Charles: 'Our children and grandchildren are judging us' over climate change action

Prince Charles offers his plan to combat climate change on the front cover of Newsweek. Credit: Newsweek

The Prince of Wales has warned "the eyes of our children and grandchildren are judging us," as he called for rapid action against climate change, with the world teetering "on the brink".

In the 1,800-word essay for US magazine Newsweek, Charles, 73, expressed his pride in his two sons for their efforts in the fight against environmental degradation.

But he suggests global leaders now need to adopt a "war-like footing" and urgently direct and co-ordinate resources to tackle the crisis before it is too late.

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"Our problems are manmade, therefore, they can be solved by man," Prince Charles declares in his call to action.

"Man's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable- and we believe they can do it again."

"Once again, the world is on the brink, and we need the mobilising urgency of a war-like footing if we are to win," he adds.

These words echoed similar ones expressed last autumn at the opening of the COP26 summit in Glasgow when he argued a “war-like footing” is needed to tackle the climate crisis.

Charles, who has been championing environmental causes for decades, describes how witnessing the damage done to natural landscapes on recent visits to Jordan, Egypt and Barbados has only further fuelled his desire for meaningful change.

In the Newsweek essay, he movingly references his father's efforts from six decades ago, as the Duke of Edinburgh, who helped found the World Wildlife Fund, "identified the damage humankind was inflicting on the planet".

While acknowledging there is a greater consensus around the reality of climate change, he says there is "understandable frustration" of younger generations about the pace of action.

"As a father, I am proud that my sons have recognised this threat," he says.

Prince William speaks with John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, during a meeting with Earthshot prize winners. Credit: PA

The Duke of Cambridge launched the Earthshot Prize, to incentivise change over the next decade, with the idea inspired by President John F Kennedy’s 1962 ambition of putting man on the moon within a decade.

Founded by Prince William in 2020, the prize aims to discover and reward the best solutions to help repair the planet over the next ten years.

"Harry, has passionately highlighted the impact of climate change, especially in relation to Africa, and committed his charity to being net zero," Charles wrote.

The Duke of Sussex plants a tree at the Chobe Tree Reserve in Botswana in 2019. Credit: PA

In 2019, the Duke of Sussex created a nature and cultural park for the community in Botswana as part of his royal tour with Meghan and son Archie.

"The eyes of our children and grandchildren are judging us," the Prince of Wales concludes in the article, which features on the cover story for the magazine's second issue of 2022.

"As we enter a new year, there is not a moment to lose."