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The Prince of Wales makes a speech at the Royal Society

20th November 2013

The Prince of Wales is pictured making a speech earlier this year

The Prince of Wales is pictured making a speech earlier this year

Extreme weather events such as Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines were a reminder of the intimacy and interdependence of man's relationship with the natural world, The Prince of Wales said today.

His Royal Highness was speaking at a meeting on tropical forests and climate change, attended by business leaders and forestry experts, at the Royal Society in London.

The Prince joked that he was there to provide the "cheap entertainment" after the private panel discussion which had taken place before he came.

The meeting today marked the launch of Carbon Disclosure Project's (CDP) annual report into corporate attempts to reduce the risk of supply chains causing deforestation.

Paul Simpson, Chief Executive of CDP, said: "This is the first time we have had a joint event with The Prince. He is very knowledgeable about this area, probably more than any of the politicians in our government."

Matt Sexton, director of corporate and social responsibility at B&Q, said: "The Prince told me that 20 years ago he met our Chief Executive and challenged him to make our timber supply chain more sustainable.

"I told The Prince that we had met his challenge. He said it was terrific that B&Q are no longer causing deforestation, but asked what we are doing about reforestation. It is nice to be set a new challenge just when you have met the old one!"

Mike Barry, Director of Plan A, Marks and Spencer's environmental sustainability initiative, said: "The Prince told me he was very inspired by M&S and impressed with our leadership in this area. We really welcome The Prince's intervention."

The Prince told guests: "The devastating impact of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines should surely have been a poignant and telling reminder of the intimacy and interdependence of man's relationship with the natural world.

"As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report so clearly tells us, the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events has increased, and is set further to increase, in many parts of the world, as a direct result of anthropogenic climate change."

He added: "The facts and the science are clear and inescapable."

Justin Mundy, Director of The Prince's International Sustainability Unit (ISU) spoke of The Prince's "determination for practical action on the ground".

Gavin Neath, Co-Chair of the ISU's working group on public-private partnerships to reduce deforestation, said: "It is vital that we don't make the same mistake in Africa in the next decade that we made in South East Asia in the last two."

Andrew Mitchell, founder and Director of Global Canopy Programme, said: "Agriculture is the big sumo wrestler of deforestation and climate change. We have to engage with the agricultural sector in stopping deforestation. What we are looking at here is nothing less than a revolution in our economy. It will not happen overnight."

Jeroen Roodenburg, ambassador for the private sector and international cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands, also attended today's meeting.

He said: "I feel we have a common agenda. That is needed for today and certainly tomorrow's world."

The Prince described how he witnessed the devastation caused by floods when he visited Uttarakhand last week, a mountainous state at the foothills of the Himalayas in India.

He said: "The Chief Minister of that state bent my ear about the disaster and the problems they were having in trying to come to terms with what are likely to be even more extreme weather events.

"So all around the world we are faced increasingly with the complications caused by sometimes an inability to take the necessary action."

The Prince spoke about the "seemingly endless discussions, debate and negotiation" and said there was a "rapidly narrowing window of opportunity" to act.

A speech by HRH The Prince of Wales at a meeting on global sustainability and the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, The Royal Society, London

Published on 20th November 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am particularly impressed if I may say so to see such a high-powered list of people from the private, public and NGO sectors in this room today all working of course on vital matters to do with tropical forests and climate change, integrated reporting and the post-2015 sustainable development goals. You don't need me to tell you that the importance and urgency of the issues we seek to address require bold and decisive action from all sectors public and private alike.

Of course as you may have discussed, the devastating impact of Typhoon Haiyan in The Philippines should surely have been a poignant and telling reminder of the intimacy and interdependence of man's relationship with the natural world. Funnily enough when we were in India last week I visited the foothills of the Himalayas, a state called Uttarakhand, where they had the most devastating floods earlier in the year and the Chief Minister of that State bent my ear about the disaster and the problems they were having in trying to come to terms with what will probably likely to be even more extreme weather events. So all around the world we are faced increasingly with the complications caused by sometimes an inability to take the necessary action.

Because as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report so clearly tells us, the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events has increased, and is set further to increase, in many parts of the world, as a direct result of anthropogenic climate change.  The ...

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