King Charles III delivers speech at Hillsborough Castle
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Long before the topics became mainstream, the King has been passionate about conservation, from tropical forests and goats, to sustainable farming practices and water security.
Within months of his becoming the Prince of Wales in 1969, the 20-year-old Prince Charles wrote to Prime Minister Harold Wilson, expressing concern about the decline of salmon stacks in Scottish rivers.
He wrote: “People are notoriously short-sighted when it comes to questions of wildlife.”
In recent years, he has considered global warming as one of the greatest threats humanity has ever faced, and even attended the COP26 global climate summit in Glasgow fast year where world leaders drafted up new ambitious commitments to limit global temperature rises to below 1.5 degrees.
During that summit, he gave a speech warning that climate change poses “an even greater existential threat” than Cavid 19, adding that humanity has to put itself on a “war-lik footing”.
Speaking to the BBC during the summit, he even sympathised with climate activists like Extinction Rebellion, which have been criticised for blocking highways as part of a civil disobedience movement.
He said: “People should really notice how despairing so many young people are.”
He also warned that while tackling climate change will be very expensive, the risks of noting doing so are worse.: “It will be a disaster. It will be catastrophic. It is already beginning to be catastrophic because nothing in nature can survive the stress that is created by these extremes of weather.”
Tony Juniper, a long-term advisor to Charles and a veteran green campaigner hailed the new king as “possibly the most significant environmental figure of all time”.
Chairman of Natural England, Mr Juniper has spoken of the “incredible depth” of the king’s knowledge and the “absolutely enormous” impact he has had on the climate movement.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Porritt, former head of Friends of the Earth and an ex-adviser to the new king said: “Everything we know about how he has thought about his accession, tells us he will be absolutely clear about his constitutional duties.”
Charles himself has acknowledged as the new monarch, it would no longer be possible for him to “give as much of my time and energies to the charities and issues for which I care so deeply”.
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However, his former press secretary, Julian Payne noted much of the work he did on climate change was away from the spotlight.
He said: “The King is a convener, connecting people and organisations in ways that open up possibilities and create solutions.”
He added that as King, Charles would invite “the best brains and the most experienced people and listen to their ideas and advice.
“I suspect it is a modus operandi that will continue as he takes on this new role.
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