PRINCE CHARLES has delivered an "impassioned and urgent plea" for urgent action on climate change and lashed out at climate sceptics and corporate lobbyists for turning Earth into a "dying planet".
Comparing Earth to a sick child, Charles told an audience of about 200 tropical forest scientists and environment ministers gathered at St James's Palace in London yesterday that if a doctor sees an infant with a fever, "he can't wait for [endless] tests" before administering a cure.
Efforts to combat climate change should be no different. "The risk of delay is so enormous that we can't wait until we are absolutely sure the patient is dying," the Prince said.
Charles saved his harshest words for those who oppose action on climate change, calling them "the confirmed sceptics" and "the international association of corporate lobbyists", The Guardian reports. Faced with such opposition, "science finds itself up the proverbial double blind gum tree", he said.
The Prince, who is taking over from the Queen at this year's meeting of the Commonwealth in Sri Lanka, also challenged politicians to have "the courage to face down a storm of opposition from all sides".
His words were greeted warmly by most of his audience. But Owen Paterson, the Tory Environment Secretary, "pointedly left climate change out of his speech and focused on other environmental issues such as biodiversity". Paterson is said by some who know him to be sceptical of the scientific consensus on climate change, The Guardian says.
The Prince's speech drew a quick rebuke from Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a climate-sceptic think tank set up by former Tory chancellor Nigel Lawson. "He doesn't make himself popular by attacking half the British public, who are known to be sceptical," Peiser told the BBC.
Charles is known as an "outspoken campaigner on environmental issues". In an interview with ITV's This Morning programme broadcast on Tuesday, he said he did not want the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's child, due to be born this summer, to ask him why he had not done more to tackle issues such as climate change. ·