Charles pleads for cli­mate deal

Prince urges world lead­ers: Think of your grand­chil­dren Mean­while deadly smog blan­kets China’s cities

Daily Mail - - Front Page - By Ta­mara Co­hen Po­lit­i­cal Cor­re­spon­dent

PRINCE Charles yes­ter­day told world lead­ers they would be the ‘ar­chi­tects of im­pend­ing catas­tro­phe’ if they did not take ur­gent ac­tion on cli­mate change.

The Prince of Wales said del­e­gates at the United Na­tions cli­mate talks in Paris held the fate of fu­ture gen­er­a­tions in their hands, telling the lead­ers of 155 coun­tries: ‘I can only urge you to think of your grand­chil­dren, the same as I think of mine.’

Charles, who said hu­man­ity had just a few years to avert ‘cat­a­strophic cli­mate change’, added: ‘Most of all, I urge you to con­sider the needs of the youngest gen­er­a­tion, be­cause none of us has the right to as­sume that for our to­day, they should give up their to­mor­row.’

The world’s na­tions are meet­ing in the French cap­i­tal for an an­nual sum­mit aimed at strik­ing a deal which will limit global warm­ing to 2C this cen­tury. David Cameron told them they should fol­low Bri­tain’s lead in cut­ting car­bon and giv­ing more for­eign aid to poor coun­tries to help them de­velop green en­ergy.

The Prime Min­is­ter also re­ferred to the next gen­er­a­tion, say­ing: ‘We should ask what will we say to our grand­chil­dren if we fail. In­stead of mak­ing ex­cuses to­mor­row, let’s take ac­tion to­day.’

In the light of the fail­ure to reach a deal in previous years, the or­gan­is­ers have de­manded that coun­tries make pledges in ad­vance to say what they will do at home to cut emis­sions. But crit­i­cism has fo­cused on the fact that these prom­ises are not legally bind­ing, rais­ing the prospect that only the UK – which has strict cli­mate change laws – will have to de­liver on them.

The sum­mit has at­tracted high­pro­file guests, in­clud­ing US Presi- dent Barack Obama and Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, partly to show sol­i­dar­ity with France af­ter the re­cent ter­ror­ist atroc­ity. Mr Obama said it was an act of de­fi­ance against ter­ror­ists, adding: ‘What greater re­jec­tion of those who would tear down our world than mar­shalling our best ef­forts to save it.’

He told del­e­gates that cli­mate change would lead to ‘ more droughts, flood and des­per­ate peo­ple’ flee­ing their coun­tries.

‘I came here per­son­ally to say the United States not only recog­nises the prob­lem but is com­mit­ted to do some­thing about it,’ he said.

Previous pacts, such as Ky­oto in 1997, were legally bind­ing – re­quir­ing a world­wide 5 per cent in emis­sions com­pared with 1990 lev­els – but only on de­vel­oped coun­tries and the US did not par­tic­i­pate.

The UN’s failed cli­mate talks in Copen­hagen in 2009 were in­tended to get big emit­ters such as China, In­dia and Mex­ico to agree to cut car­bon, which they had re­fused to do. The Paris sum­mit has seen all the ma­jor coun­tries make pledges in ad­vance for the first time, but these have no le­gal force.

The Cli­mate Change Act 2008, com­mits Bri­tain to cut­ting do­mes­tic emis­sions by 80 per cent by the year 2050 on 1990 lev­els. The UK has also com­mit­ted to the con­tro­ver­sial tar­get to spend 0.7 per cent of na­tional in­come on over­seas aid.

Re­act­ing to Mr Cameron’s speech, Friends of the Earth chief ex­ec­u­tive Craig Ben­nett said: ‘David Cameron’s grand­stand­ing on the in­ter­na­tional stage is riven with hypocrisy be­cause of the com­plete in­com­pe­tence of his Govern­ment.

‘Since the elec­tion the UK Govern­ment has taken a wreck­ing ball to clean en­ergy and low car­bon poli­cies, which means the na­tion’s ap­proach is now way off track. Fu­ture gen­er­a­tions will pay a heavy price for this Govern­ment’s eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal short- sight­ed­ness and its fix­a­tion with fos­sil fu­els.’

Prince Charles told sci­en­tists in a sep­a­rate speech that he feared for the fu­ture of French cheeses.

The prince, who was awarded the Fran­cois Ra­belais prize by France’s In­sti­tute of Sciences and Arts, said: ‘The dis­tinc­tive­ness of lo­cal cui­sine is one of the most im­por­tant ways we iden­tify with the places and re­gions we love. In a mi­crobe-free, pro­gres­sive and ge­net­i­cally en­gi­neered fu­ture, what hope is there for the old-fash­ioned Fourme d’Am­bert, the mal­formed Gruyere de Comte or the odor­ous Pont-l’Eveque?’

Toxic: Only just vis­i­ble in the dense smog, a man cy­cles through the city of Fuyang, north-east China, yes­ter­day. Fur­ther south, Bei­jing fac­to­ries were or­dered to limit pro­duc­tion and schools were forced to keep chil­dren in­side as pol­lu­tion reached dan­ger­ous lev­els

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