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News: COP21 opens with a message from HRH The Prince of Wales

last modified Aug 02, 2017 11:56 AM
30 November 2015 – COP21 international climate talks in Paris opened this morning with speeches from outgoing COP20 President and Peruvian Minister of the Environment Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, this year’s COP21 President, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, and Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales gave an opening speech urging delegates to think of their grandchildren, and "those billions of people without a voice; those for whom hope is the rarest of sensations; those for whom a secure life is a distant prospect".

We have the knowledge, the tools and the money – only 1.7 per cent of global annual consumption would be required to put us on the right low carbon path for 2030. We lack only the will and the framework to use them wisely, consistently and at the required global scale.

HRH The Prince of Wales, CLG Patron

The Prince pointed out that climate change is "our greatest threat" and that "in damaging our climate we become the architects of our own destruction".

His message, though, was one of hope as well as warning. "We have the knowledge, the tools and the money – only 1.7 per cent of global annual consumption would be required to put us on the right low carbon path for 2030," he said, adding: "we lack only the will and the framework to use them wisely, consistently and at the required global scale".

Subsidies were given as an example where change is needed:

"Governments collectively spend more than a trillion dollars every year on subsidies to energy, agriculture and fisheries. Just imagine what could be done if those vast sums supported sustainable energy, farming and fishing, rather than fossil fuels, deforestation and over-exploitation of the seas."

His message of hope was reinforced as he pointed to the speed of innovation saying "we have also seen how fast innovation and investment can drive low carbon energy technologies and we are learning how to develop circular economies," pointing out that we only lack "the will and framework" at the required global scale.


Footnotes

View the speech transcript on The Prince of Wales's website here.

The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group is running or supporting a number of events at COP21. See the full schedule here.

The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group has been active in calling for fossil fuel subsidy reform, convening a roundtable at Climate Week New York in September, and signing up to the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform Communique.

On the opening day of the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP21), New Zealand Prime Minister John Key formally presented the Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform Communiqué to Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), on behalf of the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and other supporters of the Communiqué. Read the press release.