King Charles COP28 speech: Monarch says the 'hope of the world' depends on climate conference

King Charles has delivered a speech to the COP28 climate conference. (Credit: COP 28 via Getty Images)King Charles has delivered a speech to the COP28 climate conference. (Credit: COP 28 via Getty Images)
King Charles has delivered a speech to the COP28 climate conference. (Credit: COP 28 via Getty Images) | COP 28 via Getty Images
King Charles has given a speech at the annual climate change conference COP28 which is currently being held in Dubai

King Charles has said that the "hope of the world" rests on the COP28 conference in Dubai as he addressed world leaders and climate activists at the annual meeting. The monarch, a keen environmentalist, addressed more than 1,000 people in the packed auditorium at the Expo City Dubai.

He said: “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. Despite all the attention, there is 30% more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now than there was back then, and almost 40% more methane.

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“Some important progress has been made, but it worries me greatly that we remain so dreadfully far off track as the global stocktake report demonstrates so graphically. 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.”

He added: “In 2050 our grandchildren won’t be asking what we said, they will be living with the consequences of what we did or did not do. In your hands is an unmissable opportunity to keep our common hope alive. I can only urge you to meet it with ambition, imagination, and a true sense of the emergency we face.”

The King added that the effects of climate change were evident in the wildfires in Europe and flooding in Asia. He said: “As I have tried to say on many occasions, unless we rapidly repair and restore nature’s unique economy, based on harmony and balance, which is our ultimate sustainer, our own economy and survivability will be imperilled."

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who was present in the hall for King Charles' speech in Dubai, pledged £1.6bn worth of funding to help fight climate change. He also praised King Charles' environmental activism, saying: “It speaks volumes about our type of leadership as a country that we’ve got our head of state there, delivering a call to arms in the opening statement which speaks volumes about the respect that he’s got on this issue around the world.

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“We’ve got the head of Government there in me, and we’ve got our chief diplomat there in the Foreign Secretary. There are very few countries that will be able to say what I’ve just said. So that speaks again to our leadership on this issue and particularly His Majesty’s longstanding track record championing this issue and I’m delighted that he’s going to be delivering this very important statement tomorrow.”

While his speech focused on climate change, the King experienced intensified attention after both he and Kate, Princess of Wales were identified as the two royals named in the Dutch version of the book 'Endgame', which alleged that a conversation was had with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex over the colour of Prince Archie's skin. Buckingham Palace is reportedly exploring legal action over the matter, with King Charles not commenting on the situation during his Dubai visit.

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