Britain’s Prince Charles compared the challenge of tackling climate change to the Allies’ struggle in World War II during a speech to business leaders Tuesday.
Addressing representatives from firms including Barclays Bank, British Airways and Rolls-Royce at Saint James’s Palace in London, Charles said that “we need to act very rapidly indeed” to avert environmental disaster.
“We can do it, just think what they did in the last war. Things that seemed impossible were achieved almost overnight,” the heir to the throne added.
Charles has long harboured a passionate interest in green issues — he has described climate change as “the biggest threat to mankind” while facing criticism that his own lifestyle does not match his rhetoric.
He announced in December last year that he wanted to reduce the impact of overseas royal visits on the environment by replacing carbon-heavy private planes and helicopters with scheduled flights and trains “where appropriate.”
But he raised eyebrows among figures including Britain’s Environment Secretary, David Miliband, when he flew to the United States to pick up an environmental award.
Charles said Tuesday that business leaders could pay a key role in tackling ecological issues, adding: “It cannot be business as usual.”
“When I was serving in the Royal Navy…mayday, mayday, mayday was the distress call used in cases of emergency. It still is, and this is an emergency we face,” he added, apparently punning on the date of his address.