The Prince of Wales has warned world leaders heading to Cop26 action is expected of them and urged nations to bury their “differences in order to rescue this planet”.
On the eve of the UN climate change conference, Charles said he understood the “frustration” of young climate activists in a speech to British Council staff during a visit to the organisation’s new headquarters in east London.
The prince will give the opening address to Cop26 on Monday in Glasgow and with other senior members of the royal family take part in a series of royal events in support of the summit throughout next week.
The heir to the throne is the British Council’s vice patron and he highlighted its work building ties with other nations through the English language, arts and culture.
He said: “In that sense cultural relations help remind us of what binds us together the things we share in common instead of what divides us which is so often unfortunately emphasised.
“And that by working together we can actually address our global issues and never more important than now, when it seems to me we need to bury our differences in order to rescue this planet and everything it means, this miraculous planet, for the future of generations to come.
“As I said recently, I totally understand the frustration and despair of so many young people that these issues are taking too long to be properly addressed so we hope at Cop26 there will be progress.”
Charles added: “As world leaders prepare to head to Glasgow next week, where we will be looking for them to take genuine steps to address climate change and bio-diversity loss, it is particularly gratifying I think to see that the British Council is pursuing programmes like the climate connection which encourages innovative climate action.”
During his visit to the new British Council’s offices in Stratford, Charles joined a video call with schoolchildren from Nepal and Scotland.
The youngsters were taking part in Connecting Classrooms, a British Council and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office initiative linking UK pupils with their peers across the world to learn about global issues with an emphasis on the environment in the run-up to Cop26.
He chatted with “green scholars” a project delivered by the British Council where students receive scholarships to study climate related subjects at UK universities.
And during another video call the prince chatted to students from countries as varied as Uzbekistan and Italy learning English.