Charles calls on businesses to use their trillions to make economies sustainable

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The Prince of Wales has urged the world’s business leaders to unleash the trillions at their disposal to help transform fossil fuel-based economies to a more sustainable model.

In his speech to the Cop26 summit, Charles said the strength of the “global private sector” was greater than governments, and represented the only “real prospect” of fundamental change.

He spoke ahead of a Cop26 event with billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, whose Bezos Earth Fund is allocating 10 billion dollars (£7 billion) in grants over 10 years to fight climate change and protect the environment.

Among those attending the opening day of the global conference in Glasgow were US President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Indian premier Narendra Modi and Canada’s Justin Trudeau

With the Duchess of Cornwall sitting among the delegates, Charles said: “The scale and scope of the threat we face call for a global, systems-level solution, based on radically transforming our current fossil fuel-based economy to one that is genuinely renewable and sustainable.

“So ladies and gentlemen, my plea today is for countries to come together to create the environment that enables every sector of industry to take the action required.

“We know this will take trillions, not billions, of dollars. We also know that countries, many of whom are burdened by growing levels of debt, simply cannot afford to ‘go green’.

“Here we need a vast military-style campaign to marshal the strength of the global private sector.

“With trillions at its disposal – far beyond global GDP and, with the greatest respect, beyond even the governments of the world’s leaders – it offers the only real prospect of achieving fundamental economic transition.”

Charles has spent more than 50 years highlighting environmental issues and raising his concerns about the threat to all life on the planet from climate change.

He took to the stage after delegates had heard from a range of indigenous people highlighting their experiences to world leaders.

His comments came after Mr Johnson warned: “Humanity has long since run down the clock on climate change. It’s one minute to midnight and we need to act now.

“If we don’t get serious about climate change today, it will be too late for our children to do so tomorrow.”

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said it was an “illusion” to think the fight against climate change is being won.

Charles has undertaken a flurry of activity in the days leading up to Cop26, joining politicians in Rome for the G20 summit where he gave a speech to delegates telling them they have an “overwhelming responsibility to generations yet unborn”.

He also attend the launch, by leaders from the fashion industry, of a new digital marker for sustainability.

Speaking during Cop26, the prince added: “We know from the pandemic that the private sector can speed up timelines dramatically when everyone agrees on the urgency and the direction.

“So each sector needs a clear strategy to speed up the process of getting innovations to market.”

He concluded by stating emphatically: “So, I can only urge you, as the world’s decision-makers, to find practical ways of overcoming differences so we can all get down to work, together, to rescue this precious planet and save the threatened future of our young people.”

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