Royals weigh in on green issues ahead of Cop26 climate conference

As the UN Cop26 climate conference approaches, members of the royal family have increasingly been weighing in on green issues.

The Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William have all made comments in support of taking more urgent action on the climate crisis in the past few days.

At the opening of the Welsh parliament on Thursday, the Queen was overheard saying it was “really irritating” when global leaders talk but do not take action on climate breakdown.

Speaking to the Duchess of Cornwall and Elin Jones, the parliament’s presiding officer, the Queen said that although she would be at Cop26, she still did not know who would be attending the conference.

She said: “Extraordinary isn’t it. I’ve been hearing all about Cop … still don’t know who is coming. No idea.

“We only know about people who are not coming. It’s really irritating when they talk, but they don’t do.”

The comments come after her grandson, Prince William, criticised the space race and space tourism, saying the world’s greatest minds need to focus on trying to fix the Earth instead.

The Duke of Cambridge, who was interviewed about the climate crisis ahead of his inaugural Earthshot prize awards, said: “We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.”

He also warned those due to attend the Cop26 summit, where world leaders will gather in Glasgow at the end of the month, against “clever speak, clever words but not enough action”.

“I think for Cop to communicate very clearly and very honestly what the problems are and what the solutions are going to be, is critical,” he said. “We can’t have more clever speak, clever words but not enough action.”

On Monday, Prince Charles said businesses needed to do more to tackle climate emergency, saying that while governments can bring billions of dollars to the effort, the private sector has the potential to mobilise trillions of dollars.

Warning about the threat of the climate crisis to the planet, he told the BBC: “I mean it’ll be catastrophic. It is already beginning to be catastrophic because nothing in nature can survive the stress that is created by these extremes of weather.”

He added that, in an effort to become more green, he had converted a 51-year-old Aston Martin to run on “surplus English white wine and whey from the cheese process”.

Charles and William are expected to speak at the conference, while the Queen will also attend.

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