In 1970 at the age of 21, the then Prince of Wales made a speech that was so far sighted and ahead of his times that he was ridiculed by experts, the media and politicians. This is what he said:
“We are faced at this moment with the horrifying effects of pollution in all its cancerous forms. There is the growing menace of oil pollution at sea, which almost destroys beaches and certainly destroys tens of thousands of seabirds,” he told the Countryside Steering Committee for Wales. “There is chemical pollution discharged into rivers from factories and chemical plants, which clogs
up the rivers with toxic substances and adds to the filth in the seas. There is air pollution from smoke and fumes discharged by factories and from gases pumped out by endless cars and aeroplanes.”
In the last 52 years he has been one of the few global advocates for protecting our planet from the effects of manmade Climate Change and has used his status and role as Prince of Wales to promote his concerns and help build a worldwide understanding of the challenges we all face. Few have done more than him, in this country he has only been matched by the legend Sir David Attenbrough, who at 96 years old, continues to use all his communication and broadcasting talent to aid the campaign against inaction on climate change.
The UK Government’s decision not to allow King Charles to attend COP 27 is a political error of judgement and needs to be urgently reconsidered. If there is a security concern for the King, we would understand but no explanation is being given. At last year's COP 26 that the UK co-hosted in Glasgow, the then Prince of Wales led our delegation, hosted key events and made his voice heard throughout. Why, a year later, does the Government have a problem?
Now as our monarch he should be asked by us all to attend and continue to have a voice. The threat of Climate change is not as far as I am aware a politically contentious subject. We may not all agree on how fast we can adopt and change but we all agree we need to respond and it is the Government policy to achieve key objectives by 2030 and 2050.
King Charles has also taken on the role as head of the Commonwealth and, as such, is the face of 54 member states from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Pacific and over 2.4 billion people, many of whom live in areas already impacted by climate change. His reign coincides with the first big deadline for the UK, just eight short years away, in 2030. He will still be, God willing, our King for as long as possible as we then move towards tackling the challenges of change and adaptation required leading up to the 2050 deadline.
King Charles has been right since 1970, he knows his role and will respect the Government Policies of the day but excluding him from the world stage does not show how the United Kingdom is leading the way worldwide. The vision of a Green Economy cannot be realised if we are not going to take full part in the debate and the quest for viable solutions. After all, “you have to be in it to win it”.
Not having the King as the Captain of our team at COP 27 is akin to not playing Harry Kane or Leah Williamson at the World Cup!
Let Charles be Charles – We need him and so do all those who live in the Commonwealth!