Prince Charles: My sympathy for the eco disruptors

·3-min read
Prince Charles: My sympathy for the eco disruptors

Prince Charles has warned that the COP26 summit is the “last chance saloon” to tackle climate change and said he “totally understands” why eco activists take to the streets to demand swifter action.

Just three weeks before the United Nations conference, the Prince of Wales made a heartfelt intervention, stating that world leaders had to do more than “just talk” to combat the threat of global warming. A source close to the prince told the Standard: “Advisers have long urged him to show caution when speaking out publicly. But now, clearly, as we are at the cliff edge, there is no time for pussy -footing about.”

The Glasgow summit at the end of this month aims to thrash out plans to deliver on ambitious commitments to cut harmful greenhouse gas emissions, with Britain vowing to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 .

Speaking from the Balmoral Estate, Prince Charles told the BBC: “They just talk and the problem is to get action on the ground, which is what I’ve been trying to do for the last 40 years.” He said he “totally understands the frustration” of protest groups, such as Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain, who have blocked roads and glued themselves to buildings in a bid to draw attention to the climate-change crisis.

However, he added that it “isn’t helpful” to do things which “alienate” the public to the cause. “The difficulty is, how do you direct that frustration in a way that is more constructive rather than destructive? The point is, people should really notice how despairing so many young are.”

Speaking about Greta Thunberg and other climate activists, Charles said: “All these young people feel nothing is ever happening, so of course they’re going to get frustrated. I totally understand because nobody would listen and they see their future being totally destroyed.”

Insulate Britain activists have blocked junctions of the M25 and major London roads over the last month, while Extinction Rebellion members took part in two weeks of protests earlier this year, targeting the City of London. A source close to the prince said he has wanted to “show his empathy with campaigners who take direct action for years” but his position as heir to the throne put him in a “tricky position”. “The future of the world is at a critical stage and, the boss believes, the imbalance in nature we as humans are causing means we have to wake up and act now before it is too late.”

Charles is due to attend a series of events at Cop26, which will look to speed up action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. During the interview, the prince described how he had been “rubbished and ridiculed” for decades for his stance on environmental issues.

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