Britain’s King Charles to Push for Global Action on Climate in COP28 Speech


DUBAI (Reuters) – Britain’s King Charles will give an opening address to the U.N. COP28 climate summit on Friday where he is expected to tell world leaders that the repeated warning signs of the impact of climate change are being disregarded, with devastating consequences.

In his first major speech on climate change since he became monarch in September 2022, the king is expected to advocate for greater global action and accountability, telling delegates that the “the Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth”.

“I pray with all my heart that COP28 will be a critical turning point towards genuine transformational action,” he is expected to tell world leaders and other delegates.

The king is expected, in his speech, to recognise that while there has been progress towards a more sustainable future, warning signs of the effects of climate change are being ignored with destructive consequences as “lives and livelihoods are laid waste”.

After a year of record temperatures, the pressure is on for this year’s summit to accelerate action to limit climate change. Countries, however, are divided over the future of fossil fuel – the burning of which is the main cause of climate change.

A report from Carbon Brief this week found the UK, when accounting for the British empire, has been responsible for 5% of global emissions since 1850. The monarchy has been under pressure to reduce its carbon footprint, though emissions have decreased under King Charles.

Host nation, the United Arab Emirates, is a major oil producer and member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and is seeking to include the fossil fuel industry in the climate debate.

The summit, which runs until Dec. 12, clinched an early victory on Thursday, with delegates adopting a new fund to help poor nations cope with costly climate disasters.

King Charles will be among world leaders attending the climate talks, known as COP28, in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi are also due to attend.

King Charles is attending on behalf of the British government and following an invitation from the host nation, the UAE. On Thursday, King Charles met with Gulf state’s president, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, at the COP28 summit site.

Charles has spoken at previous climate summits, including those held in the United Kingdom in 2021 and in France in 2015. But it is the first time he will address the summit as monarch.

(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Josie Kao)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.


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