United Kingdom’s King Charles III has delivered a stark warning to world leaders at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, saying that humans are carrying out a “vast, frightening experiment” on the planet by taking the natural world “outside balanced norms and limits”.
The monarch, who has been a passionate advocate of environmental and climate causes for at least five decades, said that unless we restore this balance, “our survivability will be imperilled”.
The King, who attended the summit at the invitation of the United Arab Emirate’s President, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and at the request of the UK government, said that the Earth does not belong to us, but rather we belong to it.
He urged the leaders to act with urgency and ambition to tackle the climate crisis and biodiversity loss, and to work with industry and civil society to create solutions.
He said: “We have to ask ourselves what kind of world we want to leave to our children and grandchildren. Do we want to bequeath them a planet that is degraded, polluted and barren, or one that is healthy, diverse and resilient?”
The King also praised the UAE for hosting the summit and for its efforts to diversify its economy and invest in renewable energy. He said that the UAE is an example of how countries can transform their development models and embrace a green future.
The King’s speech was well received by the audience, which included United States President, Joe Biden, Chinese President, Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, Nigeria President Bola Tinubu and other heads of state and government.
The King also met with regional leaders and attended a reception to launch the inaugural COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum, a two-day event running alongside the UN summit.
The COP28 summit, which runs from November 30 to December 11, aims to build on the progress made at the COP26 summit in Glasgow in 2021, where countries agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to phase out coal and fossil fuel subsidies. The summit also hopes to mobilize more finance and support for developing countries to cope with the impacts of climate change and to transition to low-carbon economies.