Sustainable Energy

Prince Charles calls for a 'Marshall-like plan' for the planet

Key Points
  • The Prince of Wales is a longstanding advocate for the environment.
  • His remarks add to the intensifying debate surrounding climate change and its effects on the planet.
Prince Charles at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, central England on August 15, 2020.
OLI SCARFF | AFP | Getty Images

Prince Charles has called for a "Marshall-like plan for nature, people and planet," adding his voice to the intensifying debate surrounding climate change and its effects on the planet.

Speaking Monday on the opening day of Climate Week NYC, the heir apparent to the British throne said: "The borderless climate, biodiversity and health crises are all symptoms of a planet that has been pushed beyond its planetary boundaries."

"Without swift and immediate action, at an unprecedented pace and scale, we will miss the window of opportunity to reset for a green-blue recovery and a more sustainable and inclusive future," he added, in a speech which was broadcast online.

The Prince of Wales, a longstanding advocate for the environment, went on to describe the coronavirus pandemic as a "wake-up call we simply cannot ignore," and said he had "long observed that people tend not to act until there is a real crisis."

"Ladies and gentlemen, that (environmental) crisis has been with us for far too many years, decried, denigrated and denied," he claimed.

"It is now rapidly becoming a comprehensive catastrophe that will dwarf the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. At this late stage I can see no other way forward but to call for a Marshall-like plan for nature, people and planet."

The Marshall Plan, named for former U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall, saw the U.S. provide billions of dollars in aid to help reconstruct Western Europe after the devastation and destruction of the Second World War.  

Climate Week NYC, which runs until Sept. 27, is organized by the Climate Group, an international non-profit. Helen Clarkson, the Climate Group's CEO, described Prince Charles' speech as "incredibly moving."

"Invoking the Marshall Plan harks back to a very special moment in history, when the U.S. led by example on the biggest issue of the day," she added. "I hope that decision makers in the U.S. hear that call and take note."

Royal remarks

Prince Charles is not the only member of royalty to touch on subjects related to the coronavirus and sustainability this week.   

In a speech delivered on Monday ahead of a CNBC-moderated panel at the World Economic Forum's Sustainable Development Impact Summit, King Abdullah II of Jordan noted how the pandemic and its long-term consequences had "exasperated" issues in a range of areas.

"The climate crisis, poverty, hunger, unemployment and socioeconomic inequalities have worsened after years of ineffective collective action," he said.

"The way forward must be rooted in a re-globalization that fortifies the building blocks of our international community by enabling our countries to strike a balance between self-reliance and positive interdependence, enabling us all to jointly mount a holistic response to all crises facing our world."