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'Hope of the world' rests on Dubai climate summit, King Charles tells Cop28
1 December 2023, 09:48 | Updated: 1 December 2023, 09:54
The 'hope of the world' rests on Cop28, King Charles has warned the climate conference this morning.
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Addressing the heads of state and climate delegates at Expo City Dubai, Charles called for "transformational action" to be taken, warning attendees that "the Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth."
He stressed that the world still "remains so dreadfully far off track" in uniting to tackle climate change.
In the rousing speech, in which he reflected on his lifelong commitment to green causes, the King called for the restoration of nature, the need for sustainable agriculture, and the need for cooperation between the public and private sectors.
Charles is the only head of state addressing the 167 world leaders at COP28 from the podium - eight years after he first spoke at the landmark COP21 in Paris in 2015.
"Eight years ago, I was most touched to be asked to speak at the opening of Cop21 in Paris which, of course, culminated in the Paris Agreement; a landmark moment of hope and optimism, when nations put differences to one side for the common good.
"I pray with all my heart that Cop28 will be another critical turning point towards genuine transformational action at a time when, already, as scientists have been warning for so long, we are seeing alarming tipping points being reached.
He told the conference that "the hope of the world rests on the decisions you must take" before asking them to consider a set of practical questions over the next two weeks after opening yesterday.
The King asked the conference how multilateral organisations could be strengthened to tackle the climate crisis; how they could ensure "finance flows" to the most essential sustainable developments; and how the innovation of renewable energy could be accelerated.
He also asked how different solutions and initiatives could be brought together to collaborate to make long-term approaches to tackling the climate crisis, and how a new ambitious ambition can be forged over the next one hundred years.
The monarch also warned the Dubai conference that the dangers of climate change were "no longer distant risks" as he noted there were communities across the commonwealth that are now "unable to withstand repeated shocks".
"Records are now being broken so often that we are perhaps becoming immune to what they are really telling us," the King said.
It comes as Rishi Sunak said the UK can "stand tall" at Cop28 as it remains a "leader" on tackling climate change despite his rollback of ambitions at home.
The Prime Minister also heaped praise on the King for his involvement in the annual UN climate talks in Dubai, saying Charles' role attested to Britain's authority on green issues.
Sunak will announce £1.6 billion for international climate finance, including to support projects to halt deforestation and accelerate the transition to renewable energy.
But his attendance at Cop28 comes after he scaled back a host of pledges designed to help the UK reach net zero by 2050 and vowed to "max out" the UK's oil and gas reserves by granting new North Sea drilling licences.