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Prince Charles, 71, who has spent most of his life campaigning on green issues, said the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic presented an unprecedented opportunity for a shift towards a sustainable model. Speaking at the Green Horizon Summit, designed to mobilise the financial sector in the run-up to a UN climate change conference next year, the Prince said: “I’m afraid we are literally at the last step. And there is real urgency for action.
“We know now what we have to do to rescue the situation, rather than going on, talking about it.”
Charles argued he had long believed in the need to place nature and the world’s transition to net zero at the heart of business.
The Prince said: “Achieving a sustainable future is the growth story of our time and can, in fact, fuel our post-pandemic recovery in a way that benefits people’s lives and livelihoods and nature’s own economy and pays dividends for decades to come. But the window for action is rapidly closing.”
He outlined 10 immediate actions that could make a significant difference from mobilising investment in sustainable infrastructure to increasing carbon capture use and storage to “buy us precious time” as the world moves to a net zero economy.
Charles said: “We must start accounting for natural capital on companies’ balance sheets.
“Without this firms simply cannot tell the true value of their asset base nor how damaging their operations may be on the natural world.”
He added: “Having been championing climate action now for the last 40 years, I can tell you that this isn’t a fight for the faint-hearted.”
Charles’s call came the day after Britain’s financial watchdog said from January companies listed on the London Stock Exchange would have to improve disclosures on the risks they were facing from climate change.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak also told parliament that Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) would become mandatory by 2025, going beyond “comply or explain” to support the greening of the UK economy.
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In September, Charles called for a military-style response to the threat of climate change reminiscent of the US Marshall Plan to rebuild post-war Europe, saying the world was facing a catastrophe.
He told the summit: “With the urgency required, I hope you will join me to drive a new Marshall-like plan for nature, people and planet, led by the private sector to align our collective efforts and resources for the highest possible impact.”
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