The Prince of Wales has acknowledged the climate change campaign of schoolgirl activist Greta Thunberg, saying millions of young people are “desperately demanding” urgent action to combat the “emergency”.
Charles’s comment came at the end of his two-day visit to Japan and he urged the UK and its Far East ally to work closely together to tackle the “existential threat” posed by climate change.
Japan is hosting the Rugby World Cup and, earlier, the prince wished Wales’s squad well during a training ground visit ahead of Sunday’s semi-final against South Africa.
Charles, who travelled to Tokyo for the enthronement of Japan’s new emperor, Naruhito, on Tuesday, spent around 30 minutes with Wales’s players, coaches and management at Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Stadium.
In a speech at a reception at British Ambassador Paul Madden’s official Tokyo residence, the prince said: “But we will only be stronger, more secure and more prosperous if, as I hope and pray, we can work together ever more closely on tackling the dangerously existential threat of accelerating climate change through, for instance, investing in rapid de-carbonisation of the global economy and through a transition to a circular economy that operates in harmony with nature’s own economy.
“Such a partnership could surely see a combination of innovative Japanese and British technology and engineering – currently often under-capitalised – helping to provide alternative, low-carbon solutions to the crisis we face.
“Apart from anything else, ladies and gentlemen, millions and millions of young people around the world are desperately demanding urgent – and I say urgent – action to tackle a real climate emergency.”
Ms Thunberg’s activism has sparked a global strike movement that has seen millions of youngsters from across the world protest by refusing to go to classes.
The Swedish campaigner addressed a UN one-day summit on the issue in September, telling world leaders they had failed to act: “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”
In his speech, Charles also paid tribute to the resilience of the Japanese people who endured Typhoon Hagibis earlier this month, and expressed his sympathy for those who lost loved ones.