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Image / Editorial

Watch: When Prince Charles met with Greta Thunberg in Davos

by Grace McGettigan
23rd Jan 2020

Prince Charles Greta Thunberg, photo by Clarence House on Instagram

Prince Charles Greta Thunberg, photo by Clarence House on Instagram

Prince Charles, who has been campaigning for environmental issues since 1968, met with climate activist Greta Thunberg in Davos this week. He also gave an impassioned speech about the future of humanity in the midst of global warming

World leaders are in Davos, Switzerland this week for the 2020 World Economic Forum, the theme of which is ‘Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World’. With sustainability in mind, climate activists Greta Thunberg and Prince Charles were invited to give individual speeches about the climate crisis, in an effort to achieve the WEF’s mission to “improve the state of the world”.

Ahead of his keynote speech, the Prince of Wales met with 17-year-old Greta Thunberg, where they were filmed chatting and posing for photos. The pair, while from very different backgrounds, have one mutual goal: that is to slow down the rate of climate change and protect the environment we live in.

Prince Charles Greta Thunberg

More to be done

It’s clear from both of their speeches that neither feels enough work is being done by world leaders; that sustainability needs to be put at the centre of business models across the globe.

The 71-year-old royal said he is willing and ready to convene, “a broad range of industry and issue roundtables including (but not limited to): aviation; water; carbon capture and storage; shipping; forestry; plastics; financing; digital technology; the bio-economy; nature-based solutions; renewable energy; batteries storage and electric vehicles; fisheries; integrated healthcare; cement; steel; traceability and labelling; and agriculture – at the end of which I shall probably be dead,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Swedish teenager said, “Let’s be clear. We don’t need a ‘low carbon economy’. We don’t need to ‘lower emissions’. Our emissions have to stop if we are to have a chance to stay below the 1.5-degree target. And, until we have the technologies that at scale can put our emissions to minus, then we must forget about net-zero. We need real zero.”

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A post shared by Clarence House (@clarencehouse) on

Prince Charles’ speech on climate change

Speaking to a global audience, Prince Charles said, “We are in the midst of a crisis that is now, I hope, well understood. Global warming, climate change, and the devastating loss of biodiversity are the greatest threats humanity has ever faced – and one largely of our own creation.

“I have dedicated much of my life to the restoration of harmony between humanity, nature and the environment, and to the encouragement of corporate social and environmental responsibility. Quite frankly, it has been a bit of an uphill struggle. But, now, it is time to take it to the next level.

“Having been engaged in these issues since 1968… and having talked to countless experts across the globe over those decades, I have come to realise that it is not a lack of capital that is holding us back, but rather the way in which we deploy it. Therefore, to move forward, we need nothing short of a paradigm shift, one that inspires action at revolutionary levels and pace.

“…Changing our current trajectory will require bold and imaginative action, together with determination and decisive leadership. We all know the problem, and increasingly we agree on the direction. 2020 is the time for solutions and practical action.”

Prince Charles went on to outline 10 ways in which this can be done, before adding, “When the right sustainable goods and services are developed, proved and affordable, the choice to adopt them will become obvious. Truly to seize these opportunities, we need to visualise the future and have the confidence to invest in it.

“I believe profoundly in the critical importance of forming an unprecedented global alliance of investors which can genuinely mobilise the kind of trillions of dollars needed to put our economy on the correct path. This would be the most dramatic act of responsible leadership ever seen by the global private sector and would at once provide a catalytic incentive for the public sector to follow.

“… After all, ladies and gentlemen, do we want to go down in history as the people who did nothing to bring the world back from the brink? I don’t want to. And just think for a moment – what good is all the extra wealth in the world, gained from ‘business as usual’, if you can do nothing with it except watch it burn in catastrophic conditions?

“This is why I need your help, your ingenuity and your practical skills to ensure that the private sector leads the world out of the approaching catastrophe into which we have engineered ourselves.

“… Everything I have tried to do, and urge, over the past 50 years has been done with our children and grandchildren in mind – because I did not want to be accused by them of doing nothing except prevaricate and deny the problem. Now, of course, they are accusing us of exactly that.

“Put yourselves in their position, ladies and gentlemen. We simply cannot waste any more time – the only limit is our willingness to act, and the time to act is now.”

Photos: Clarence House, Instagram

Read more: Why Greta Thunberg rejected a €46k environmental award

Read more: Ireland has exceeded its greenhouse gas emissions target… again

Read more: WATCH: ‘We’re a team’: Greta Thunberg meets Barack Obama