Prince Charles on his climate change fight: “I don’t really see any value in saying, I told you so"

Danielle Stacey
Royal Correspondent
Prince Charles delivers a speech about the ‘nightmare’ of plastic waste in January (Getty)

Prince Charles spoke about the effects of climate change and plastic waste over forty years ago, but he was told he was “old-fashioned, out of touch and ‘anti-science’ for warning of such things.”

In an interview with Vanity Fair ahead of his 70th birthday on November 14, the future King spoke about his duty to find solutions to environmental issues, but that “it seems to take forever to alert people to the scale of the challenge.”

Charles revealed that the problem keeps him awake at night, but that he didn’t “really see any value in ‘I told you so.’”

He added: “As a teenager, I remember feeling deeply about this appallingly excessive demolition job being done on every aspect of life. . .. In putting my head above the parapet on all these issues, and trying to remind people of their long-term, timeless relevance to our human experience—never mind trying to do something about them—I found myself in conflict with the conventional outlook which, as I discovered, is not exactly the most pleasant situation to find yourself.” 

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall at their official welcome ceremony in The Gambia on their royal tour (PA)

Earlier this year, the Prince of Wales delivered a speech about the ‘nightmare’ of plastic waste polluting the world’s oceans.

Speaking at a meeting of environmentalists and business leaders at The British Academy in London, he said: “We cannot, indeed must not, allow this situation to continue… I do fervently pray that you will all do your utmost to work together in the coming year to make real, substantial progress.

“It could not be more critical that you succeed.”


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There is an estimated 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic that have been produced since the early 1950s. About 60% of the plastic produced is ending up in landfills or in the sea or other places in the natural environment.

In the Budget this week, UK chancellor Philip Hammond said that he is going to introduce a new tax on the manufacture and import of plastic packaging, which contains less than 30% recycled plastic, from April 2022.

Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall are currently on a royal tour of The Gambia, Ghana & Nigeria.