Charles hopes to set up a ‘China Council’ of his Sustainable Markets Initiative

·3-min read
The Prince of Wales gave the opening address via video link at Cop15 (Wattie Cheung/PA) (PA Wire)
The Prince of Wales gave the opening address via video link at Cop15 (Wattie Cheung/PA) (PA Wire)

The Prince of Wales has said he hopes to establish a “China Council” of his Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) launched to help accelerate the world’s transition to a sustainable future.

Charles’s comments came as he gave the opening address via video link at Cop15, the UN Biodiversity Conference being hosted by China.

The heir to the throne, who received a round of applause when he spoke in Mandarin at one point, told the delegates: “China is, of course, critical to our shared future on this planet.

“It is therefore my great hope that, together, we will be able to work towards establishing a China Council as part of my Sustainable Markets Initiative and the Terra Carta in order to help accelerate the green economy globally.

“This initiative aims to help find immense and accelerating solutions to the practical problems posed by climate change, and to scale them up to promote the global co-operation which is critical to achieving a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren.

“I am delighted that we now have an opportunity to engage with you all as representatives of the Chinese private sector.”

China is among the planet’s largest carbon polluters but last month its president, Xi Jinping said his country would no longer fund coal-fired power plants abroad.

Clarence House has said the prince was invited by President Xi to offer opening remarks in recognition of his work over the last 50 years raising awareness about climate change.

Charles will join the Queen and other members of the royal family at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow next month.

His virtual appearance followed an interview with the BBC in which Charles said he understood why climate campaign groups such as Extinction Rebellion stage protests and block roads, but suggested they should take a less disruptive approach.

The prince has had a difficult relationship with China’s leadership in the past but it appears to be on a firmer footing with President Xi, who he met during the Chinese leader’s 2015 state visit to the UK.

Charles’s thoughts on Beijing’s past leadership are well known after he described them as “appalling old waxworks” in extracts from his journal.

Entitled The Handover Of Hong Kong – Or The Great Chinese Takeaway, it was written by the heir to the throne after he visited Hong Kong in 1997 for the ceremony marking the formal handover of the colony to China.

In 1999, the prince was accused of boycotting a Chinese state visit to the UK by failing to attend the return banquet held for the then-president Jiang Zemin, who two years earlier attended the Hong Kong ceremony.

A decade later the relationship appeared to be changing and Charles held his first private meeting with a Chinese leader in the UK, sitting down with then-president Hu Jintao’s during his 2009 state visit.

Cop15 takes place over five days in the Chinese city of Kunming with a second round at the same venue next spring.

Negotiators are tasked with agreeing a new set of goals for nature over the next 10 years but none of the world’s last targets for protecting wildlife, which were set in Aichi, Japan, in 2010, have been met.

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