The Prince of Wales has warned that the climate crisis will “dwarf” the impact of coronavirus.
Charles, speaking via a recorded message from his Birkhall home, in the grounds of Balmoral Castle in Scotland, said “swift and immediate action” was needed on climate change.
The prince, a keen environmentalist, said the COVID-19 pandemic was a “window of opportunity” to reset the global economy.
“Without swift and immediate action, at an unprecedented pace and scale, we will miss the window of opportunity to ‘reset’ for… a more sustainable and inclusive future,” the heir to the throne said in a message that was also played at the virtual opening of Climate Week on Monday (British time).
“In other words, the global pandemic is a wake-up call we cannot ignore…
“…[the environmental] crisis has been with us for far too many years – decried, denigrated and denied.
“It is now rapidly becoming a comprehensive catastrophe that will dwarf the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”
Charles, 71, who tested positive for the coronavirus in March, previously urged members of the Commonwealth to come together to tackle climate change.
He said climate change posed such a severe threat that the only option for the world was to adopt a military-style response reminiscent of the US Marshall Plan to rebuild postwar Europe.
“We must now put ourselves on a warlike footing, approaching our action from the perspective of a military-style campaign,” he said.
Under the Marshall Plan, the US provided $15 billion ($A20.6 billion) to help rebuild 17 nations European Europe after World War II.
Today, that would equate to about $150 billion in aid.
The plan helped restore industrial and agricultural production to avoid famine, establish financial stability and expand trade.
The prince also called on business and political leaders to embrace a radical reshaping of economies and markets in order to tackle the crisis at the Davos summit back in January.
In August, a study suggested the global lockdown would have a “negligible” impact on rising temperatures but a green recovery could avert dangerous climate change.
Experts led by the University of Leeds found that lockdowns caused a fall in transport use, as well as reductions in industry and commercial operations, cutting the greenhouse gases and pollutants caused by vehicles and other activities.
However, the impact is only short-lived, with analysis showing that even if some measures last until the end of 2021, global temperatures will only be 0.01 degree lower than expected by 2030.