King says COP28 a ‘critical turning point’ in fight against climate change

UK

King Charles has urged world leaders assembled in Dubai to make the COP28 climate summit a “critical turning point” in the fight to tackle global warming.

“Real action” is needed to tackle the climate crisis and steer people and nations “away from practices that make our world more dangerous”, he told global leaders.

He said the hope of the world rests on their decision-making during the summit – which he described as an “unmissable opportunity” to reduce the risk the globe faces from climate change.

“I can only urge you to meet it with ambition, imagination, and a true sense of the emergency we face, and together with a commitment to the practical action upon which our shared future depends,” he said.

He warned the world could no longer “carry on as though there are no limits – or as though our actions have no consequences”.

Reflecting on COP21 which culminated with the Paris Agreement, the King said he hoped 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”.

“I have spent a large proportion of my life trying to warn of the existential threats facing us over global warming, climate change and biodiversity loss,” he said.

“Some important progress has been made, but it worries me greatly that we remain so dreadfully far off track.”

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He said: “The dangers are no longer distant risks. I have seen across the Commonwealth, and beyond, countless communities which are unable to withstand repeated shocks, whose lives and livelihoods are laid waste by climate change. Surely real action is required to stem the growing toll of its most vulnerable victims?”

The King pointed to “repeated cyclones”, “unprecedented floods” and “severe wildfire seasons” and warned “records are now being broken so often that we are perhaps becoming immune to what they are really telling us”.

“We are taking the natural world outside balanced norms and limits, and into dangerous, uncharted territory,” he said.

“With what we are witnessing, our choice now is a starker and darker one: how dangerous are we actually prepared to make our world?”

He called on nations to “act together to safeguard our precious planet”, adding: “The Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth.”

The monarch and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak are representing the UK at the major climate summit, as nations evaluate the impact of efforts to limit global warming.

Mr Sunak will push for an “era of action” and highlight the UK’s “pragmatic” approach to reaching net-zero targets, after a series of U-turns on green policies.

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He and the King will be joined by newly appointed foreign secretary Lord David Cameron, and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

The talks are intended to assess progress made on the 2015 Paris Agreement targets, which saw countries agree to limit the average global temperature rise to 2C above pre-industrial levels and make every effort to stop it rising above 1.5C.

COP28 is the first time countries will assess progress towards this goal in what is being called the “global stocktake”.

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