King Charles' passion for environmentalism shines at climate action reception despite COP27 decision

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King Charles III's passion for environmentalism was centre-stage today as he hosted a reception to discuss tackling climate change, as global leaders prepare for the UN climate summit COP27.

His interest in environmental matters has long been at the forefront of his personal interests, but he previously promised he wouldn't be a campaigning monarch.

The King's reception gathered politicians and campaigners from across the globe at Buckingham Palace, including PM Rishi Sunak, US climate envoy John Kerry and COP President Alok Sharma.

The King is renowned for his passion for environmental matters including climate change action, but it was agreed he would not attend COP27.

Rishi Sunak delivering a speech during a reception for world leaders at Buckingham Palace Credit: PA

This year's conference will begin on Sunday in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Addressing the reception, Mr Sunak said  the world will experience “more human suffering” if we continue to allow “climate change to ravage our planet”.

He said: "As recent events have shown, delivering on the promise of Glasgow is more important than ever.

“More important because as we have seen so starkly with the war in Ukraine, it is vital to invest in secure, renewable sources of energy and sustainable food production.

“More important because every moment we allow climate change to ravage our planet we will see more human suffering like the devastating floods in Pakistan.

“And more important because if we do not act today, we will risk leaving an ever more desperate inheritance for our children.”

King Charles III with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Alok Sharma and Stella McCartney at the reception Credit: PA

Mr Sharma, who will be handing over the UK’s presidency to Egypt at the summit, has reportedly said he would “welcome” Charles’s presence at Cop27.

Fellow guest John Kerry, America’s special envoy on climate change, echoed his words telling Sky News recently it would be “very powerful” if the King was in Egypt.

Fashion designer and sustainability activist Stella McCartney was asked at the reception if it would be a “good idea” for the King to attend Cop27.

Stella McCartney said she thought it was a good idea for King Charles to attend COP27 but added 'I don’t think it’s realistic to do so' Credit: PA

She replied: "I think it’s good to have him everywhere talking on this subject matter but I don’t think it’s realistic to do so."

The designer added: "That’s really the beauty of today and the work that King Charles has been doing, he is truly getting the world leaders in business and the world leaders in politics into the same room.

“They’re all here for one reason – people are facing problems, we need solutions and we all have to work together."

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The prime minister paid tribute to King Charles III for "helping to find practical solutions to climate change and biodiversity loss for more than 50 years, long before Cop1 let alone Cop27.”

He added: “The reduction in global emissions pledged during our presidency is now equivalent to more than six times the annual emissions of the entire global aviation industry.”

Mr Sunak said the greatest breakthrough from COP26 was suggested from the now King - bringing together leading investors and businesses at Glasgow to direct the world’s wealth at protecting the climate.

He said: "As a result of what many of you here are doing today, we’re turning the fight against climate change into a fantastic source of new green jobs and growth.”

King Charles III planting a lime tree near the Tea House in the Buckingham Palace garden Credit: PA

King Charles concluded the day planting a lime tree in Buckingham Palace’s garden as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project.

It was thought to be the first time he has conducted a tree-planting ceremony as monarch.

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