Britain's Prince Charles addresses the Inclusive Capitalism
Conference. REUTERS/John Stillwell
Prince Charles warned business leaders to take action
against climate change or watch the world continue on a path to
destruction - the latest forthright comment from the heir to
the British throne in a month when his views have caused
political and diplomatic waves.
Charles sparked a diplomatic spat last week by comparing
Russian President Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler, with some
lawmakers calling for the 65-year-old prince to keep his
personal opinions private.
But he showed today he is determined to voice his opinions,
calling on an audience of global business leaders to take
tough choices over climate change and capitalism even if it
made them unpopular.
He said the world was at the mercy of people vociferously and
aggressively denying the current operating model was
accelerating climate change which could destroy the world.
"... we can choose to act now before it is finally too late,
using all of the power and influence that each of you can
bring to bear to create an inclusive, sustainable and
resilient society," he said in a speech in London to a
conference entitled Inclusive Capitalism.
He added: "There will, of course, be hard choices to make,
and, take it from me, in the short term, you will not be
popular with your peers, but if you stand firm and take the
kind of action that is needed, I have every confidence the
rewards will be immense."
He made no reference to comments reportedly made in a private
conversation in Canada last week in which he was said to have
compared Putin's actions in Ukraine to those of Hitler during
World War Two.
Putin has accused the prince of unacceptable and unroyal
behaviour for remarks that a British newspaper reported he
made to a Jewish woman who fled Poland during the war.
The prince's office has declined to comment on the reported
remarks because they were made during a private conversation.
Traditionally, Britain's royal family does not voice
political views in public, with the head of state merely a
constitutional figurehead. During her long reign, Queen
Elizabeth, 88, has never aired personal sentiments.
But Charles has often courted controversy by voicing strong
views on the environment, architecture and social affairs.
He told Tuesday's conference, where others speakers include
former U.S. President Bill Clinton, International Monetary
Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde and Bank of England
Governor Mark Carney that "we stand at a pivotal moment in
He highlighted the growing plight of the world's most
vulnerable people and the unprecedented environmental change
that he said was undoubtedly compounded by man-made global
warming and the great strain put on nature's life-support
"These changes threaten to undermine all of the progress we
have achieved, unless we can create a much more sustainable
and inclusive approach," he said.
"If there is a price to pay for achieving the necessary
transformation, it will be our abandoning of the next,
seemingly easy, short-term solution that our current form of
capitalism thinks is necessary and, instead, focusing on
approaches that achieve lasting and meaningful