The Duke of Cambridge has called for the world to keep up pressure on its leaders to combat climate change, as he spoke up for those on the “front line” in British Overseas Territories.
The Duke, who met young people from 14 British Overseas Territories at a Foreign and Commonwealth Office reception, heard how their way of life is in danger from rising sea levels, changing weather patterns and the destruction of their homelands’ natural treasures.
The Duke told them: “You are all on the front line. Your contributions to global emissions are negligible, and yet you face the dire consequences of rising sea levels, changing weather patterns and the destruction of coral reefs.
“Climate change is threatening the very survival of the territories, your ways of life and the future of all your people.”
The territories include Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory and the Cayman Islands, the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in Cyprus, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the British Virgin Islands.
The Duke praised residents for the way they had voiced concern for their future at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow earlier in November.
“I am pleased the Overseas Territories were represented at COP26 and you were able to voice not only your concerns, but your efforts to tackle the immense problems that you face,” he said.
“But we need to keep the pressure up if we are to drive down emissions and support those on the front line of climate change. We need to keep telling your story.”
The Duke praised initiatives across the territories to combat the worst effects of climate change.
“The challenges you face because of climate change may seem overwhelming.
“But I believe that with urgency and optimism, comes action,” he said.
“And humans have an extraordinary ability to make the impossible, possible.”