PRINCE Charles was accused of endangering his reputation yesterday after claiming climate change sceptics were “playing a reckless game of roulette” with the world’s future.
In a speech to Euro MPs and business leaders in Brussels, he lashed out at those urging caution in response to apocalyptic warnings about the effects of global warming.
The Prince suggested climate change sceptics were having a “corrosive effect” on public opinion by saying that hundreds of scientists around the world were somehow conspiring to present a false image of man-made global warming in an attempt to destroy the world economy.
But Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a think-tank concerned about the costs of fashionable green policies, said: “He shouldn’t really take such a strong political position on such a contentious issue that divides public opinion, as polls show.
Updated below by James Delingpole
“I think he’s really risking his reputation. He’s not really helping the situation,” he said.
In his speech to the Low Carbon Prosperity Summit, Charles said of the sceptics: “I would ask how these people are going to face their grandchildren and admit to them that they actually failed their future; that they ignored all the clear warning signs by passing them off as merely part of a ‘cyclical process’ that had happened many times before and was beyond our control.”
“I wonder, will such people be held accountable at the end of the day for the absolute refusal to countenance a precautionary approach? For this plays, I would suggest, a most reckless game of roulette with the future inheritance of those who come after us.”
The Prince travelled to Brussels by Eurostar after facing accusations of hypocrisy when he flew in a private jet to address the Copenhagen climate change summit in December 2009.
He met European dignitaries, including European Council president, Herman Van Rompuy.
In front of a packed European Parliament, he warned against the pursuit of economic growth at the expense of the environment and challenged politicians to break the link between growth and high carbon emissions.
He said a “business as usual” approach to increasing national wealth was just a short-term remedy.
“I cannot see how we can possibly maintain the growth of GDP in the long term if we continue to consume our planet as voraciously as we are doing,” he added.
But his speech provoked a furious response from critics more concerned with encouraging growth to bring the global economy out of a downturn.
Dr Peiser said the Prince was wrong on the key issue that the West’s economic model was flawed.
“More advanced societies in Europe and North America have a much better track record on environmental policies than other parts of the world,” he said.
“But also the prescriptons he is promoting, such as biofuels, are part of the problem and have been the cause of food riots around the world.”
Charles uses biofuels in his official cars and on the Royal Train, but the race to turn crops into green fuel has caused rainforests to be chopped down, and land formerly used to grow food in the Third World to be switched to its production.
Andrew Montford, author of The Hockey Stick Illusion, which seeks to debunk climate change science, said: “It isn’t sceptics who have eroded public opinion – climate scientists have destroyed their own credibility by hyping global warming and cheating the scientific process. More hype from Prince Charles will merely turn people off further.”
You Could Not Make It Up: UK's Prince Charles blasts climate-change skeptics
What did our grandchildren do to deserve the Prince of Wales?
- James Delingpole