World Green suits and global summits: Royal family throws its weight behind climate action
Biden sees American credibility on the line as he races to lock down climate action ahead of Glasgow
President Joe Biden wanted the stakes to be perfectly clear when he sat down with nine liberal Democrats in the Oval Office Tuesday to discuss ongoing legislative negotiations. © Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 22: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a virtual Leaders Summit on Climate with 40 world leaders at the East Room of the White House April 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2030.
LONDON — British royals usually do not go in for emphatic public pronouncements. Tradition and elegance, yes. Fiery statements, not so much.
Yet climate change is an issue that has not only promptedfrom the royal family, but has united three generations of the monarchy ahead of the U.N.’s climate change conference, COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland.
Prince Charles,and their wives plan to lend their to the event. had originally planned to attend in person, but after she received medical advice to rest following a recent hospital stay. Instead, she will deliver a recorded video address, Buckingham Palace said Tuesday.
What to know about COP26 ahead of global climate summit
Experts say the world still has a narrow window of opportunity to act – and crucial global summit is coming up.Over two weeks in November, world leaders and national negotiators will meet in Scotland to discuss what to do about climate change. It's a complex process that can be hard to make sense of from the outside, but it's how international law and institutions help solve problems that no single country can fix on its own.
The conference has beenfor world leaders to get climate change under control. Otherwise, experts warn that temperatures will continue to rise far above the 1.5 degree Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) target previously set out in the , resulting in further climate catastrophes, from fires and floods to the destruction of species.
President Joe Biden, together with senior members of his Cabinet and former President Barack Obama, will be among 120 world leaders to attend the nearly two-week conference. Leaders are hoping it will result in ambitious emissions reduction targets as well as moves to protect vulnerable areas and communities.
Royals rubbing shoulders with world leaders will cap weeks of events and interviews in support of action, fromPrize, which aims to find technological or policy solutions to the effects of climate change, to Prince Charles' declaring that he understands the frustration of young climate protesters.
John Kerry Is Bringing America Back Into the Climate Fight
John Kerry Is Bringing America Back Into the Climate FightAs tourists on the other side of the patio snap photos of Mount Vesuvius looming in the background, Kerry is warning about the fate of human life on earth. Kerry, 77, has been on the public stage for decades as a Senator, presidential candidate and U.S. Secretary of State and, on paper, his latest role representing the U.S. as President Biden’s climate envoy may look like a demotion. But Kerry rejects any question about why he’s taken this role. The fate of civilization is on the line, and he will do anything he can to help. “I’ve fought around war and peace, and that was life and death.
Before the Earthshot Prize ceremony in London this month,when he appeared to criticize billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk for pursing space tourism.
“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 said in an interview with the BBC.
But this royal focus on climate action does more than just raise public awareness; it also helps raise the, according to Mike Goodman, professor of geography at the U.K.'s University of Reading, who studies celebrity and climate change.
“They’ve had a long history of thinking of the environment. But it’s also an opportunity for him to develop his own brand as they move into a new era and other royals start to take over from the queen,” Goodman said, referring to William, the second in line to the throne.
What U.S.-China tension means for fighting climate change
The rest of the world may suffer the consequences if the U.S. and China don't work together on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. What's clear, however, is that the dynamic between the U.S. and China has shifted dramatically in the last several years. "We are fundamentally in a very different era,” said Thom Woodroofe, a fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute and former climate diplomat. Before the Paris summit in 2015, Woodroofe said, negotiations between Washington and Beijing produced a joint announcement that was an "absolute game changer.
William’s passion for climate action comes on the heels of his father's andwith bettering the planet. Prince Philip, the queen's husband, who in April, was long associated with animal conservation efforts and served as the president of the World Wildlife Fund. Charles has been long before it was daily news, and has often at the lack of attention his efforts have received.
“The problem is to get action on the ground, which is what I’ve been trying to do for the last 40 years,” he told the BBC in an interview that aired last week.
In that interview, Charles also made common cause with young climate change activists, saying he understands their frustration that not enough is being done.
“People should really notice how despairing so many young people are,” said Charles, who added that he refrains from eating meat or fish two days a week, and dairy products on Mondays.
In addition to adding solar panels to his residences, the prince has also converted his Aston Martin car to run on surplus English white wine and whey from cheese processing.
Joe Biden wants America to lead the world against the climate crisis. That goal faces a big test this week.
President Joe Biden's ambitions to lead the world in slowing the planet's warming will be tested on two continents this week as he travels to Scotland for the most important climate talks in years, while back home lawmakers come closer to making his visions a reality. © Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images US President Joe Biden speaks at the beginning of a meeting about the global supply chain, during the G20 Summit at the Roma Convention Center La Nuvola on October 31, 2021, in Rome, Italy.
Despite their dedication to the issue, the royals have come under criticism for their own luxury lifestyle and production of greenhouse gases.
, Meghan, directly experienced this before they from their royal roles in 2020. British tabloids in August 2019 slammed the couple, who had previously spoken about the need for climate action, for taking a private jet to France.
In past weeks, the royal family, who are known to be keen hunters, have faced calls from the U.K. news outlets to “rewild” parts of their large estates, which would include more tree planting and a return to a more natural way of caring for the land. Royal Estates, the body that runs their properties, said in a statement that it had a long history of conservation and biodiversity and was always looking for ways to improve.
The advertising of their efforts in support of the environment extend to the, which has a page dedicated to the royal household’s practical actions, including the use of hydroelectricity and organic farming.
The royal family is part of a long list of celebrities and public figures to throw their weight behind climate action, and William’s Earthshot Prize ceremony on Oct. 17 included appearances on the green carpet by actors Emma Watson and David Oyelowo.
Biden totes up climate efforts, pushes for more at UN summit
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — President Joe Biden was swinging the focus of his battle for fast, concerted action against global warming from the U.S. Congress to the world on Monday, appealing to global leaders at a U.N. summit to commit to the kind of big climate measures that he is still working to nail down at home. Speaking to world leaders at the newly opened climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Biden planned to tote up his not-yet year-old'sSpeaking to world leaders at the newly opened climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Biden planned to tote up his not-yet year-old's administrations climate efforts and announce new climate initiatives, including billions of dollars in hoped-for legislation to help poorer communities abroad deal with
However, the extent to which celebrity involvement with the cause makes a difference is up for debate, according to Alison Anderson, a professor of sociology at the University of Plymouth, who studies climate change and celebrity activism.
“Celebrities can put a spotlight on the issue, but sometimes the danger is that it appears superficial and it may not necessarily have a long-lasting impact,” said Anderson.
It’s not only the royals whoon climate change. Their star power is also helping to boost the U.K.’s profile on this global issue after its departure from the European Union.
Last Tuesday evening, the queen welcomed former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, along with other international political and business leaders to Windsor Castle as part of a Global Investment Summit aimed at highlighting the U.K.’s role in green investment and clean technologies.
This issue, however, is different from many the more traditionally apolitical causes that the royal family generally supports.
The younger royals, like William and his wife, Kate, are perhaps best known for their work on mental health, addiction and homelessness. Climate action, in contrast, requires more government buy-in for their activities to make a difference, according to experts, and the royals' activities are just a tiny fraction of what's needed for lasting change.
The U.K.'s Committee on Climate Change estimates that low carbon investment needs to reach around $68 billion a year to deliver the government's own net zero targets. The Earthshot Prize, for example, supported by companies like Walmart and Unilever, awards a grant worth $1.4 million to five winners a year to develop and scale up their ideas. That's a relatively small amount of money compared to the large sums needed to deliver lasting change, according to Goodman.
“He’s doing the best he can," Goodman said of William. "He’s using his profile and position of power and money to gather groups of people together to say the right things, and here they are doing something. It’s just not enough.”
UK tells private sector it must invest big to save planet .
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Britain called Wednesday for the world's financial industry to channel its vast funds towards greener investments to ensure that global efforts to curb global warming succeed. Treasury chief Rishi Sunak said that while the U.K. government is providing fresh financing to help poor countries cope with climate change, “public investment alone isn’t enough.” Speaking at the U.N. climate summit in the Scottish city of Glasgow, Sunak said U.K.