G20 summit: Prince Charles to tell world leaders the lives of future generations are 'in your hands' in climate change address

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The Prince of Wales will tell world leaders the lives of future generations are "in your hands" and they can no longer ignore "the despairing voices of young people" as he makes his case about the climate crisis ahead of COP26.

In a rare invitation, Prince Charles, a committed environmental campaigner, has been asked to address the G20 leaders in Rome.

He will use his speech to emphasise that the world leaders have an "overwhelming responsibility to generations yet unborn", adding that: "It is impossible not to hear the despairing voices of young people who see you [the leaders of the G20] as the stewards of the planet, holding the viability of their future in your hands."

It is incredibly rare for a member of the Royal Family to be invited to the G20, let alone be asked to address the gathered leaders. His speech will come ahead of discussions between the countries about climate change commitments.

In the past, the Prince of Wales has been accused of lobbying, or trying to use his influence in discussions with politicians and world leaders on environmental issues, and been criticised for not being as neutral on political matters as the Queen.

His invitation to speak ahead of the G20 and his considerable involvement in COP26 appears to mark a shift in perceptions, and the fact there is now a growing global consensus on the desperate need to address the climate crisis.

Perceptions that he is interfering have been replaced by an acknowledgement of his five decades of environmental work, and his unparalleled ability to convene representatives from both the private and public sectors.

In his speech, the prince will talk about how views are shifting in a more positive direction, saying "I am at last sensing a change in attitudes and the build-up of positive momentum" and will use the example of his own Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI).

The SMI is a talking shop of hundreds of business chief executives, all working together to make their industries more environmentally friendly.

The prince will tell world leaders that the finance and focus of some of the world's leading businesses stand ready to help.

He will say: "Some 300 of the world's top CEOs from every sector of the economy, including financial services, joined my Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) and demonstrated how acutely sensitive they are to the way both consumers, who control more than sixty per cent of global GDP, and shareholders are now demanding changes in the way businesses behave."

Before leaving Rome, Prince Charles will attend an event to highlight an initiative that chief executives from the fashion world have been working on.

The SMI Fashion Coalition's Digital ID will be a virtual certificate on items of clothing and accessories that records each item's history; how it was designed, manufactured and transported to the shops. High-end brands such as Giorgio Armani, Mulberry and Chloé have signed up to the idea. Fashion is currently one of the most polluting sectors in the world.

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On Monday, the Prince of Wales will be joined by the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for a reception to welcome world leaders to Glasgow for COP26.

Prince Charles will also deliver opening remarks at the official opening ceremony hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

On Saturday, it was announced that G20 leaders have endorsed a global minimum tax on corporations, as part of a new international taxation system.

Back in July, G20 finance ministers agreed on a 15% minimum tax - so its formal endorsement in Rome of the world's economic powerhouses had been expected.

After the summit finishes, attention will turn to Glasgow and COP26 on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Britain has decided to name a thinning ice mass in the Antarctic the Glasgow Glacier, to symbolise the implications for the world of the conference.

Scientists from the University of Leeds in England have studied a chain of glaciers in the Getz basin of Antarctica and found their journey from land to ocean sped up by an average of 25% between 1994 and 2018 due to climate change.

The glaciers, which lie in the British Antarctic Territory, will be named after cities that have hosted climate conferences, reports or treaties, including Rio, Kyoto, Paris and Glasgow.

Watch the Daily Climate Show at 6.30pm Monday to Friday on Sky News, the Sky News website and app, on YouTube and Twitter.

The show investigates how global warming is changing our landscape and highlights solutions to the crisis.

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