Climate change biggest challenge facing the world, says the Queen

·3 min read
The Queen and Boris Johnson greet guests at a reception for the Global Investment Summit at Windsor Castle
The Queen and Boris Johnson greet guests at a reception for the Global Investment Summit at Windsor Castle

Governments must work together to beat climate change, the Queen has said, calling it the greatest challenge the world faces.

In her first major intervention on environment issues, the Queen said world leaders, businesses and civil society must align in the “shared responsibility” of saving the planet.

She said she was “proud” of “how the United Kingdom is seeking to secure a sustainable future”, but warned that there was “still much more to do”.

While the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge have made the environment a cornerstone of their work and public speaking, the Queen has so far contributed in quieter ways, such as planting trees.

Last week, she was overheard in conversation ahead of the Cop26 summit saying it was “irritating” when people “talk but don’t do”.

In a written foreword for the brochure of the Global Investment Summit, she has shared her views about the scale of the threat to the environment.

Telling business leaders of her pride in the UK’s “history of innovation” in times of adversity, including the code-breaking work at Bletchley Park during the Second World War, she said: “The challenge of today, however, is not in breaking a code.

“It is in working together across the globe to avert the challenges of climate change. It is our shared responsibility, of those in government, business and civil society, to rise to this challenge.”

The message sees Her Majesty in total alignment with her son and grandson – a monarch and two future heirs united in an effort to encourage leaders around the world to take the matter as seriously as possible.

On Nov 1, the trio will be joined by the Duchesses of Cornwall and Cambridge at Cop26 in Glasgow, hosting politicians and public figures as they work to set binding targets to save the planet.

The Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge will on Tuesday speak to business leaders during a reception at Windsor Castle for the Global Investment Summit.

The Queen greets Bill Gates at the reception
The Queen greets Bill Gates at the reception

In her foreword, released by Buckingham Palace, the Queen addressed the impact of the Covid pandemic and the importance of “working together against seemingly insurmountable obstacles”.

“With the need for isolation and restrictions, the last year and a half has often threatened what we have all previously taken for granted: the opportunity to be, work and grow together,” she wrote.

“Yet, in the face of these challenges, I have been inspired by countless stories of overcoming these hurdles. We have learned to connect with each other through innovative technologies and, in sharing the common goal of tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, achieved scientific breakthroughs faster than was ever expected.

“It has been a reminder that the diversity of thinking and experiences that this collaboration brings is not only of social benefit, but imperative for innovation and transformation. It is in that spirit that I welcome you to the Global Investment Summit.”

‘Challenge of today is not in breaking a code’

Writing of Britain’s own history of innovation, she added: “It is often when working together against seemingly insurmountable obstacles that we create the technologies that change the world. In the United Kingdom, I am often reminded that our history of innovation comes from this foundation of teamwork against adversity.

“Faced with breaking the Enigma code, the team at Bletchley Park created Colossus, the world’s first modern computer. Today, we have Alan Turing and his peers to thank for much of our modern world, and Turing’s pilot Ace computer can be found in the Science Museum.

“This summit is not just a showcase, but an opportunity to come together and, in the generous spirit of collaboration, forge new partnerships. I invite you all to share in this spirit and wish that today brings the innovation of tomorrow.”

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