Asked how he could influence countries such as Australia, whose prime minister Scott Morrison is so far not planning to attend Cop26, the Prince told the BBC: “You gently try to suggest there could be other ways of doing things… otherwise you accuse me of meddling and interfering.”
Asked if the UK Government, as the host of the conference in Glasgow, was doing enough to fight climate change, the Prince replied: “I couldn’t possibly comment.”
In a speech due to be broadcast to delegates in China on Tuesday, the Prince will say the Covid-19 pandemic has shown how “human health, economic health and planetary health are fundamentally interconnected”, with biodiversity conferences providing “unmissable opportunities to accelerate action in a more sustainable direction”.
“Of course, an intimate understanding of nature has underpinned Chinese civilisation, craftsmanship and philosophy for millennia,” he will say.
The three-point plan to save the planet
Making a three-point proposal to help the planet, he will argue for “first, putting nature at the heart of our economy”.
Second, he said, leaders must adopt a “polluter pays” principle to “properly price” carbon in a way that reflects the damage it does to the environment.
A source said that exact policies are down to governments to implement. Earlier this year, Boris Johnson asked UK government departments to produce a price for carbon emissions emanating from various goods, which could include meat, cheese and gas heating.
Thirdly, the Prince will add, leaders should rethink “our land, food and health systems”, using more sustainable practices.
Warning that “time is not on our side”, the Prince will say: “It is a humbling realisation that everything we need to survive – the food we eat, the water we drink, the oxygen we breathe – depends on the work of other species and the ecosystems they create.
“When we protect lands and oceans, we in fact protect ourselves. Nature bounces back, bringing with her all the benefits on which life depends.”
Cop26 gets underway on October 31 and the Prince is due to attend in person, along with the Queen, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.