Prince Charles says tackling climate change 'utterly essential' as UK swelters in 'alarming' temperatures

Prince Charles made the comments during an open-air event to mark his 70 years as Duke of Cornwall

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The Prince of Wales said tackling climate change is “utterly essential” as the country swelters in “alarming” temperatures.

While speaking at an open-air event to mark his 70 years as Duke of Cornwall, Charles said national commitments to reach net zero have “never been more vitally important”.

The nation is experiencing an extreme heatwave, with thermometers passing 38C, resulting in school closures, train services being cut and ambulance crews facing rising numbers of 999 calls.

The mercury hit 38.1C in Santon Downham, Suffolk, by 4pm on Monday, making it the hottest day of the year, while temperatures topped 37C in a number of other places.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
The Prince of Wales shakes hands with a guest at a garden party at Boconnoc House, Lostwithiel, Cornwall
The Prince of Wales shakes hands with a guest at a garden party at Boconnoc House, Lostwithiel, Cornwall

Charles has long campaigned on environmental issues and last autumn told Cop26, the UN climate change summit, the world has had enough of talking and commitments need to be put into practice.

Speaking at the end of a garden party in the grounds of Boconnoc House near Plymouth, the prince said: “If I may so say, those commitments around net zero have never been more vitally important as we all swelter under today’s alarming record temperatures across Britain and Europe.

“As I have tried to indicate for quite some time, the climate crisis really is a genuine emergency and tackling it is utterly essential – for Cornwall, the country and the rest of the world.”

Cop26 president Alok Sharma, who led last year’s landmark UN climate change summit in Glasgow, has indicated he may resign if the next prime minister is not fully committed to the net zero agenda.

He told the Observer that while it was “absolutely a leadership issue”, some of the remaining candidates in the Tory leadership race have been only “lukewarm”.