UK’s King Charles urges rapid environmental repair in COP28 speech

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Britain's King Charles said on Friday the world was “dreadfully far off track” on addressing climate change and that the global economy would be in peril unless the environment was rapidly repaired.

In an opening address to the COP28 UN climate summit, King Charles told world leaders the dangers of climate change were no longer a distant risk, and urged them to take more action.

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“I pray with all my heart that COP28 will be another critical turning point towards genuine transformational action,” he said, in reference to the 2015 summit held in France.

“We are seeing alarming tipping points being reached.”

After a year of record temperatures, the pressure is on for this year's summit to accelerate action to limit climate change. Countries, however, are divided over the future of fossil fuel, the burning of which is the main cause of climate change.

The summit, which runs until Dec. 12, clinched an early victory on Thursday, with delegates adopting a new fund to help poor nations cope with costly climate disasters.

The king, whose role is ceremonial but is attending the summit on behalf of the British government and after an invite from host nation the United Arab Emirates, did not single out any group in his speech, his first major climate address as Britain's monarch.

He instead spoke about how to involve multilateral organisations and the private sector, the role of the insurance sector and speeding up innovation in renewable energy.

Charles cited the impact of climate change globally, including floods in India and Pakistan and severe wildfires in the United States, Canada and Greece.

“Unless we rapidly repair and restore nature's unique economy, based on harmony and balance, which is our ultimate sustainer, our own economy and survivability will be imperilled,” he said.

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