The countries of the world must put themselves “on a war-like footing” to address the looming climate crisis, Prince Charles said in his opening speech to the climate conference in Glasgow on Monday. He warned the assembled heavies that climate change posed “an even greater existential threat” than the Covid-19 pandemic.
Acknowledging that tackling climate change “will take trillions, not billions of dollars,” he admitted that some countries, “many of whom are burdened by growing levels of debt, simply cannot afford to go green.” The prince then proposed a solution beloved by green-minded billionaires around the globe: “putting a value on carbon, thus making carbon capture solutions more economical.”
Carbon credits – which effectively allow companies to buy rights to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide – have been the focus of climate change jet-setters for years, unlocking the ‘value’ of nature’s commons without forcing the emitters-in-chief to actually cease their environmentally-unfriendly activities.
The prince issued a plea for “countries to come together to create the environment that enables every sector of industry to take the action required,” without specifying what exactly that action might be – only that it must involve a “military-style campaign” if it hopes to achieve success.
He reminded the attendees that “the eyes and hopes of the world are upon you” because “time has literally run out,” presumably referring to event organizers’ insistence that it would be one of the last chances to rope the world’s governments into committing to carbon-cutting goals that would keep planetary warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above “pre-industrial” levels. That was the goal agreed upon in Paris in 2015, and for deep-pocketed environmentalists like the prince, it remains an absolute-must in order to “lay the foundations for a sustainable future.”
The conference was a high-enough priority that leaders like Prince Charles and US President Joe Biden flew their less-than-sustainable private jets to Scotland for the occasion, hosted by UK PM Boris Johnson. The decision to hold such a gathering in-person during a global pandemic may have contributed to several regrets on the conference’s invitations list, as China’s Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin did not travel to the event.
The prince on Sunday deemed the conference the “last chance saloon” to save the planet after declaring last week that world leaders faced a “dangerously narrow” window to fight climate change. Predicting environmental catastrophe has become something of a hobby for the royal, who was also an early proponent of the World Economic Forum’s “Great Reset” and its now-ubiquitous “Build Back Better” slogan.