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Prince Charles calls for green TAXES as he meets Greta Thunberg in Davos and pitches radical new world economy to tackle climate change – a day after Donald Trump rejected ‘prophets of doom’

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Prince Charles and the Royal family have been in the news a lot over the past couple weeks after Megan and Harry left the family high and dry. Now Harry is seeking attention by addressing Climate Change, claiming it is the biggest threat to mankind the world has ever seen.

Dailymail reported

  • Charles was forced to charter a plane for trip as ministerial jet was out of action and gave radical speech
  • The Prince of Wales was driven two hours to Davos in an electric Jaguar instead of by gas-guzzling helicopter 
  • He described his dedication to corporate, social and environmental responsibility as an ‘uphill struggle’ 
  • But he added: ‘It is time to take it to the next level. In order to secure our future and to prosper we need to evolve our economic model’
  • After meeting Greta for the first time he will fly from Switzerland to Middle East for tour of Israel and Palestine

Prince Charles demanded global green taxes as part of a radical push to tackle climate change in a seminal speech at Davos today.

The Prince of Wales met Greta Thunberg at the Word Economic Forum after flying in to Switzerland on a private jet – but did not hold talks with Donald Trump.

Charles even sounded like the 17-year-old Swedish activist as he asked VIPs: ‘Do we want to go down in history as the people who didn’t do anything to bring the world back from the brink? The only limit is our willingness to act and the time to act is now’. 

He then begged delegates, including wealthy global business leaders: ‘This is why I need your help, your ingenuity and your practical skills to ensure that the private sector leads the world out of the approaching catastrophe into which we have engineered ourselves.’

Speaking just 24 hours after President Trump used his speech to reject environmental ‘prophets of doom’, Charles called for new eco-taxes, greener fuels and hydrogen-powered planes by 2030.

In his first keynote speech to the conference in 30 years, hailed by environmentalists as a landmark moment and branded royal meddling in global affairs by critics, he said: ‘Global warning, climate change and the devastating loss of biodiversity are the greatest threats humanity has ever faced, and one largely of its own creation’.

He added: ‘Now it is time to take it to the next level. In order to secure our future and to prosper we need to evolve our economic model’.

Earlier today the Prince of Wales flew to Switzerland on a chartered plane costing an estimated £15,000 before jumping in an electric Jaguar – but he missed Donald Trump who carried out his final press conference and then left the summit just as the royal took to the stage.

The heir to throne later met Greta Thunberg but the US President dodged her for a second year, using his own speech yesterday to pointedly blast ‘prophets of doom’ on climate change and snubbed their ‘predictions of the apocalypse’ in favour of ‘optimism’.

And today Mr Trump lashed out at Miss Thunberg again telling her not to focus on the United States, but other nations before saying demands made by activists like her are ‘unrealistic to a point where you can’t live your lives’.  

Prince Charles today met Greta Thunberg in Davos today as President Donald Trump left the World Economic Forum summit after again clashing with the 17-year-old Swede
Prince Charles today met Greta Thunberg in Davos today as President Donald Trump left the World Economic Forum summit after again clashing with the 17-year-old Swede
Prince Charles gave his first keynote speech at the summit for 30 years
Prince Charles gave his first keynote speech at the summit for 30 years

Prince Charles discusses climate change with Greta ThunbergLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00PlayCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time2:08Fullscreen

Charles' speech has split opinion with environmentalists praising him for speaking out on environmental matters - others said he was hypocritical for jetting in for one speech and was 'meddling' where royals should not
Charles’ speech has split opinion with environmentalists praising him for speaking out on environmental matters – others said he was hypocritical for jetting in for one speech and was ‘meddling’ where royals should not
Donald Trump slammed climate change activists such as Greta saying he rejected their gloomy outlook for 'optimism'. He met Charles twice last year but is not believed to have seen the royal in Davos
Donald Trump slammed climate change activists such as Greta saying he rejected their gloomy outlook for ‘optimism’. He met Charles twice last year but is not believed to have seen the royal in Davos
Prince Charles flew to Davos today on a chartered plane costing an estimated £15,000 - but will arrive at the World Economic Forum by electric Jaguar (pictured in St Gallen today)
Prince Charles flew to Davos today on a chartered plane costing an estimated £15,000 – but will arrive at the World Economic Forum by electric Jaguar (pictured in St Gallen today)

Mr Trump met Charles twice on visits to Britain in 2019 – the first for a state visit last June and then for NATO talks in December.

In their first meeting at Clarence House over the summer the royal spent 75 minutes longer than expected with the leader of the free world, trying to convince him of the dangers of global warning. Trump is said to have called the US ‘clean’ and pointed the finger at other countries.

Donald Trump slaps at Greta Thunberg AGAIN saying she should focus on ‘other countries’ 

Donald Trump took another hit at teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg during remarks Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland
Donald Trump took another hit at teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg during remarks Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland

Donald Trump took another hit at Greta Thunberg during his second day at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Wednesday, lamenting that the 17-year-old climate activist made the cover of Time Magazine at a younger age than he did. 

During a press conference Wednesday afternoon from Switzerland, a reporter brought up that Trump has previously said Thunberg needed to work on her ‘anger.’

‘I didn’t say anger, I said anger management,’ Trump corrected.

‘How old is she?’ Trump questioned, ignoring the reporters question on if the U.S. could be doing more to combat climate change, like Thunberg has insisted.

‘She’s 17,’ a bunch of press members shouted out.

‘Oh, that’s good. She beat me out on Time Magazine,’ Trump said.

Thunberg graced the front of Time Magazine as it revealed its coveted ‘Person of the Year’ in December 2019.

Trump, however, told reporters in Switzerland Wednesday that he doesn’t believe her criticism of the U.S. and other developed countries are valid. Instead, he blamed others and said Thunberg should focus on other countries, as well.

‘No, I didn’t actually,’ Trump said regarding Thunberg’s message. ‘But, I would have loved to have seen her speak. I did not. No, not at all.’

‘We want to have the cleanest water on earth, we want to have the cleanest air on earth,’ Trump said in touting the U.S. environment. ‘Our numbers, as you saw, we had record numbers come out very recently. Our numbers are very, very good. Our environmental numbers, our water numbers, our numbers on air are tremendous.’

‘We have to do something about other continents, we have to do something about other countries,’ he admitted. ‘When we’re clean and beautiful and everything’s good, but you have another continent where the fumes are rising at levels that you can’t believe.’

‘I mean, I think Greta ought to focus on those places,’ he continued.

‘We have a beautiful ocean called the Pacific Ocean, with thousands and thousands of tons of garbage flows toward us – and that’s put there by other countries,’ he said. ‘So, I think Greta has to start working on those other countries.’

The President then told Piers Morgan ITV’s Good Morning Britain the following day he had a ‘great’ meeting with Charles but said the Queen’s eldest son ‘did most of the talking’.

Greta Thunberg watched Trump’s Davis speech yesterday and afterwards introduced a talk on ‘Averting a Climate Apocalypse’, in which she scolded the world’s elites for not doing enough to deal with the climate crisis. 

Today Prince Charles smiled as he shook her hand but while they will have discussed climate change, details of what they said has not yet been revealed. 

Around an hour earlier Charles told leaders gathered at the Forum: ‘Ladies and gentleman, you all have a seat at the table as this must be the year that we put ourselves on the right track.’

He added: ‘Do we want to go down in history as the people who did nothing to bring the world back from the brink, in trying to restore the balance, when we could have done? I don’t want to.

‘Just think for a moment, what good is all the extra wealth in the world gained from business as usual if you can do nothing with it except watch it burn in catastrophic conditions.

‘This is why I need your help, your ingenuity and your practical skills to ensure that the private sector leads the world out of the approaching catastrophe into which we have engineered ourselves.’

Away from the turmoil caused by Harry and Meghan‘s emigration to Canada, Charles travelled from St Gallen to Davos in a fully electric Jaguar I-Pace, rather than using a helicopter – but did fly to Switzerland in a private jet, which will produces six tonnes of carbon per passenger compared to 0.19 tonnes on a commercial flight. 

The London to Davos leg of the journey would cost around £15,000 [$20,000] by private plane alone – and will cost the same again as he heads to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories later.

Charles’ usual ministerial jet Voyager is believed to be undergoing scheduled maintenance 

Today he warned in his Davos speech that the world is in the midst of a crisis that ‘is now I hope well understood’.ADVERTISEMENT

He added: ‘Global warning, climate change and the devastating loss of biodiversity are the greatest threats humanity has ever faced.’

He described his dedication to encouraging corporate, social and environmental responsibility as an ‘uphill struggle’.

But he added: ‘Now it is time to take it to the next level. In order to secure our future and to prosper we need to evolve our economic model.’

The prince used his speech to launch a new Sustainable Markets Initiative to help financial markets become more sustainable.

He outlined 10 practical actions to drive the approach, including identifying game-changers and barriers to transition and investing in Stem (science, technology, engineering, and maths) and innovation, adding this included ‘AI, where that does not seek to challenge or replace unique human characteristics and intuition’. 

Charles and Greta shook hands as Donald Trump left the World Economic Forum having avoided Miss Thunberg
Charles and Greta shook hands as Donald Trump left the World Economic Forum having avoided Miss Thunberg
Charles met Greta Thunberg for the first time today - the Swedish teenager looked serious as she listened to Trump's speech yesterday
Charles met Greta Thunberg for the first time today – the Swedish teenager looked serious as she listened to Trump’s speech yesterday

Charles, on a positive note, said the world was ‘further ahead than we might think’ in achieving the goal of a profitable but sustainable future, citing developments such as plans for green engines for ships and opportunities to develop commercially viable, hydrogen-powered and electric aircraft within the decade.

The prince, who is facing his youngest son the Duke of Sussex quitting royal life, took the opportunity to praise his eldest, the Duke of Cambridge, for his environmental work.

‘Critically, we must foster innovation – and here, if you will allow me, I would like to acknowledge the new Earthshot initiative of my son, the Duke of Cambridge, which seems to me to extol the sort of horizon-lifting approach we need in order to give us hope,’ he said.     

In his speech in the Swiss resort Charles said that being socially and environmentally responsible should be the cheapest option available to all.

‘We cannot expect consumers to make sustainable choices if these choices are not clearly laid before them,’ he said.

‘As consumers increasingly demand sustainable products, they deserve to be told more about product lifecycles, supply chains and production methods.

‘For a transition to take place, being socially and environmentally conscious cannot only be for those who can afford it.

‘If all the true costs are taken into account, being socially and environmentally responsible should be the least expensive option because it leaves the smallest footprint behind.’ADVERTISEMENT

Charles has vowed to use his platform to get the message out.

‘With 2020 being seen as the ‘super year’, kick-starting a decade of action for people and planet, I intend to do my utmost to ensure that the message of urgency, systemic change, collaboration and integration is heard,’ he said.

The heir to the throne hopes his Sustainable Markets Council, which is supported by the World Economic Forum, will bring together leading individuals from the public and private sectors, charitable organisations and investors to identify ways to rapidly decarbonise the global economy and make the transition to sustainable markets. 

Trump held his final WEF press conference at around the time Charles took to the stage to speak today
Trump held his final WEF press conference at around the time Charles took to the stage to speak today
Donald Trump arrived at the Davos summit yesterday morning ahead of his keynote address where he said the US was doingb a good job on environmental issues
Donald Trump arrived at the Davos summit yesterday morning ahead of his keynote address where he said the US was doingb a good job on environmental issues
The President arrived at the annual gathering of the world's political and business elite sporting what appeared to be a rubber cover over his usual black brogues
The President arrived at the annual gathering of the world’s political and business elite sporting what appeared to be a rubber cover over his usual black brogues
Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka is also at Davos, pictured hugging Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, on the sidelines of a press conference today
Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka is also at Davos, pictured hugging Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, on the sidelines of a press conference today

Over the past few months, Trump has made Thunberg a target on social media. Last month, Trump reacted to the teenager being named Time magazine’s 2019 ‘Person of the Year’ by mocking her serious demeanour.

Trump shared a congratulatory tweet about Thunberg’s win from actress Roma Downey.

‘So ridiculous,’ the president responded. ‘Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!’

Thunberg responded by briefly changing her Twitter bio to read: ‘A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.’

Charles gives climate change lecture… after heading to Davos on a private jet (but did do the final leg in an electric Jag)

Charles took a private jet to Davos – which will produce 6 tonnes of carbon per passenger compared to 0.19 tonnes on a commercial flight – Charles jumped in an electric Jaguar at St Gallen airport to drive the two hours to the World Economic Forum, shunning a fuel-guzzling helicopter used by most VIPs.

The London to Davos leg of the journey would cost around £15,000 [$20,000] by private plane alone – and will cost the same again as he heads to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories later.

World leaders and leading business figures have faced criticism in the past for flying to Davos by private jet.

Scott Furssedonn-Wood, the prince’s deputy private secretary, has said: ‘We always look at a range of options, we take a number of factors into account when we decide how to travel, we weigh up things like cost of course with environmental impact as you’d expect, but also efficiency of time, size of delegation and crucially safety and security.’

He highlighted a number of trips including Charles’s official visits to Japan and India where he flew by commercial airlines, but for this tour he said all of their considerations could not be satisfied by scheduled flights.ADVERTISEMENT

Trump had also weighed in September after Thunberg made a passionate plea to world leaders during the United Nations General Assembly to do something about the warming earth.   

Greta Thunberg rose to national prominence after her fiery climate activism went viral.

Trump, however, told reporters in Switzerland today that he doesn’t believe her criticism of the U.S. and other developed countries are valid. Instead, he blamed others and said Thunberg should focus on other countries, as well.

‘No, I didn’t actually,’ Trump said regarding Thunberg’s message. ‘But, I would have loved to have seen her speak. I did not. No, not at all.’

‘We want to have the cleanest water on earth, we want to have the cleanest air on earth,’ Trump said in touting the U.S. environment. ‘Our numbers, as you saw, we had record numbers come out very recently. Our numbers are very, very good. Our environmental numbers, our water numbers, our numbers on air are tremendous.’

‘We have to do something about other continents, we have to do something about other countries,’ he admitted. ‘When we’re clean and beautiful and everything’s good, but you have another continent where the fumes are rising at levels that you can’t believe.’

‘I mean, I think Greta ought to focus on those places,’ he continued.

‘We have a beautiful ocean called the Pacific Ocean, with thousands and thousands of tons of garbage flows toward us – and that’s put there by other countries,’ he said. ‘So, I think Greta has to start working on those other countries.’

Trump called Thunberg ‘very angry’ in a new interview, after saying climate activists were out-of-touch ‘alarmists’ and ‘heirs of yesterday’s fortune tellers’ during his appearance Tuesday morning at the World Economic Forum.

Davos has no airport so VIPs often land at one such as Dübendorf or St Gallen in Switzerland and jump on  a helicopter for the final part of the journey - but Charles will drive through the alps instead
Davos has no airport so VIPs often land at one such as Dübendorf or St Gallen in Switzerland and jump on  a helicopter for the final part of the journey – but Charles will drive through the alps instead
Thunberg was featured on the cover of Time Magazine in December 2019 as it revealed she was named its 'Person of the Year'
Thunberg was featured on the cover of Time Magazine in December 2019 as it revealed she was named its ‘Person of the Year’

Thunberg had been seated in the audience looking on, but Trump told the Wall Street Journal afterward that, ‘I don’t really know anything about her,’ before calling her angry. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s carbon footprint is also under scrutiny.

Harry, Meghan and Archie first flew the 4,700 miles from London to Vancouver together at the end of November for the start of their six-week Canadian holiday.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex returned to the UK in early January without their son, leaving him with his nanny and the Duchess’ best friend Jessica Mulroney, before dropping the bombshell they were quitting as senior royals.

Hours later Meghan flew back to Canada from Britain – rumoured to be on a BA flight from Heathrow to Vancouver – and is back staying in the £10million waterfront mansion they stayed in over Christmas and New Year with plans to stay there for the foreseeable future.

Harry is now reunited with his wife and son after another flight to Canada on Monday night.

Charles’ speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am most touched that Professor Klaus Schwab should have invited me to be with you as we mark the 50th Anniversary of the World Economic Forum and its mission to ‘improve the state of the world’. It is this mission, and the urgent need to shape the next fifty years, that has inspired me to be with you here today, after an absence of 30 years I hate to tell you.

We are in the midst of a crisis that is now, I hope, well understood. Global warming, climate change, and the devastating loss of biodiversity are the greatest threats humanity has ever faced – and one largely of our own creation.

I have dedicated much of my life to the restoration of harmony between humanity, Nature and the environment, and to the encouragement of corporate social and environmental responsibility. Quite frankly, it has been a bit of an uphill struggle. But, now, it is time to take it to the next level.

In order to secure our future and to prosper, we need to evolve our economic model. Having been engaged in these issues since I suppose 1968, when I made my first speech on the environment, and having talked to countless experts across the globe over those decades, I have come to realize that it is not a lack of capital that is holding us back, but rather the way in which we deploy it. Therefore, to move forward, we need nothing short of a paradigm shift, one that inspires action at revolutionary levels and pace. With this in mind, I am delighted to be launching a Sustainable Markets Initiative, with the generous support of the World Economic Forum.

For me, Sustainable Markets offer a new systems-level framework which ground markets in a higher purpose mission – in other words, putting people and planet at the heart of global value creation.

Sustainable markets generate long-term value through the balance of natural, social, human and financial capital. Systems-level change within sustainable markets is driven by consumer and investor demand, access to sustainable alternatives and an enhanced partnership between the public, private and philanthropic sectors. Sustainable markets can also inspire the technology, innovation and scale that we so urgently need.

The past decade has shown us just how quickly industry transformation can happen when you reimagine and re-engineer the business model – we need only look to mobile technology, electric vehicles, the space industry, e-commerce and online streaming for inspiration. Looking forward, new employment opportunities, entire new industries and markets rooted in sustainability are within our grasp, with the potential for unprecedented economic growth.

Changing our current trajectory will require bold and imaginative action, together with determination and decisive leadership. We all know the problem, and increasingly we agree on the direction. 2020 is the time for solutions and practical action. With our S.D.G. and Paris commitments in mind, – and the good news is that they are well within our reach if, Ladies and Gentlemen, we all pull together in a coordinated global initiative to tackle the greatest global threat – I would like to outline ten practical actions that will drive forward the sustainable markets approach.

First of all – shifting our default setting to ‘sustainable’. For sustainable markets this means everyone in a leadership role putting genuine sustainability at the centre of our business models, our analysis, our decisions and our actions. In other words, put simply, we need to put Nature, and the protection of Nature’s capital – from which we draw an annual return – at the heart of how we operate. It also means further defining and developing the discipline and framework of sustainable markets and sustainable industries.

Second – outlining responsible transition pathways to decarbonize and move to net zero. It is time for businesses, industries and countries alike to design and implement how they will decarbonize and transition to net zero. Moving together, with clear roadmaps, will create efficiencies and economies of scale that will allow us to leapfrog our collective progress and accelerate our transition. A little competition in this area could go a long way.

Third – reimagining industries through the lens of sustainable markets. Using a sustainable markets framework, we have an incredible opportunity to create entirely new sustainable industries, products, services and supply chains, based on a circular bioeconomy, while in parallel helping to transition our existing systems. To do this we must look at our markets using a business model approach to revenue generation and system operations.

Fourth – identifying game-changers and barriers to transition. We need to identify, showcase and invest in the game-changing technologies and solutions that are emerging around the world. To accelerate, we must also identify the barriers to progress, be it policy, regulation, infrastructure, investment or the wider enabling environment. Often, I have found, it is simply about bringing the right people together to help lift those roadblocks out of the way. This convening role is, I hope, at least one practical contribution my Sustainable Markets Initiative can make. Because it is only by seeking out these game-changers and barriers that we will be able to make tangible progress.

Fifth – reversing perverse subsidies and improving incentives for sustainable alternatives. To achieve scale within sustainable markets we must not be afraid to adapt our long-standing incentive structures if we are to reap the benefits afforded by a more sustainable world. Re-orientating economic subsidies, financial incentives and regulations can have a dramatic and transformative effect on our market systems. It is time to level the playing field and to think about how we properly deploy taxes, policies and regulation in a way that catalyses sustainable markets. For instance, for many years I have tried to encourage the adoption of the ‘polluter pays’ principle in order to provide the necessary incentives. Public policy, therefore, has a critical role to play.

Sixth – investing in STEM, innovation and R&D. Whether it is AI (where that does not seek to challenge or replace unique human characteristics and intuition), or indeed nuclear fusion, 3-D printing, energy storage, electric transportation, carbon capture, renewables or biotech…we are on the verge of catalytic breakthroughs that will alter our view of what is possible – and profitable – within the framework of a sustainable future. To move forward, we must acknowledge that sustainability and profitability are no longer mutually exclusive. Effective solutions must ensure that sustainable technologies and alternatives are competitively priced.

Seventh – investing in Nature as the true engine of our economy. Beyond major innovations and technologies, we must also look to invest in Nature-based solutions in sectors like agriculture, forestry and fisheries – indeed, for all the resources that we take from the Earth. Nature’s contribution to the global economy is estimated to be worth more than $125 trillion annually – greater than the entire world’s annual G.D.P., estimated at $85.91 Trillion in 2018. Building conservation and nature-based solutions into our asset base and supply chains can, therefore, offer significant economic growth opportunities for countries and businesses alike – including in areas such as the circular bioeconomy, ecotourism and green public infrastructure. If, Ladies and Gentlemen, we valued our natural capital properly (as I have been trying to say for quite a long time), our national and individual balance sheets might look very different indeed!

Eighth – adopting common metrics and standards. An increasing number of corporations are adopting E.S.G. methodologies and highlighting their S.D.G.-aligned investments. However, it is time to move to unified metrics and global standards. People want to trust that the goods and services they buy are socially, environmentally and ethically produced. Through new technologies we have the ability to tag, track and trace supply chains in unprecedented ways – so it is time to make this level of supply chain transparency the norm.

Ninth – making the sustainable options the trusted and attainable options for consumers. With consumers controlling an estimated 60% of global G.D.P., people around the world have the power to drive the transformation to sustainable markets. Yet, we cannot expect consumers to make sustainable choices if these choices are not clearly laid before them. As consumers increasingly demand sustainable products, they deserve to be told more about product lifecycles, supply chains and production methods. For a transition to take place, being socially and environmentally conscious cannot only be for those who can afford it. If all the true costs are taken into account, being socially and environmentally responsible should be the least expensive option because it leaves the smallest footprint behind. We must communicate better with consumers about the sustainability of the goods, services and investments we offer.

Tenth – connecting investments to investables using platforms that can rapidly scale solutions. On every pressing issue we face, there are solutions that are not just available, but increasingly cost effective. At the same time there are trillions of dollars in sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, insurance, and asset portfolios looking for investible and sustainable projects with good long-term value and rates of return. It is time to align sustainable solutions with funding in a way that can transform the market place. This requires not only showcasing high potential investments, but that we reimagine financial analysis, structuring and models of return.

Now if we all accept that a profitable, yet sustainable, future is the desired end state – the questions we must ask are: How quickly can we get there and who are the leaders who will drive us forward? I submit that we are, in fact, far further ahead than we might think, making it critical that we leverage the vital work already underway. I would therefore like to highlight just a few examples to demonstrate that in nearly every industry we are seeing progress that we can build on.

To start with, despite great efforts over the past 35 years, I have found that we could never convince financial and capital markets of the overwhelming need to invest in ways that truly benefit people and planet. Yet, in the last two or three years, we have seen a dramatic increase in sustainable investing. Investment managers frequently tell me that the demand for these investments far outstrip supply. At the same time, returns on sustainable investments are increasingly out-performing traditional portfolios.

In the financial sector, many central banks and financial institutions have committed to integrating climate risk into stress-testing, supervision and disclosure. With this progress there are now growing calls from financial institutions and companies alike to make disclosure mandatory. In aviation, there are opportunities to develop commercially viable, hydrogen-powered and electric aircraft within the decade. In the interim, many in the industry are ready to adopt Sustainable Aviation Fuel made from waste material that can reduce carbon emissions – starting today.

In shipping, the manufacturers of ship engines are proposing it may take two to three years to build engines that run on green ammonia and methanol made from solar and wind power. These ships could start operations in the middle of the decade and become the norm around 2030. This hasn’t all been certified and tested, but if the industry and the regulators make a real effort, we can make it work – creating a real tipping point.

In renewable energy, we are witnessing breakthroughs in the cost of solar that have the potential to revolutionize almost every industry. We are rapidly approaching a time when renewable energy will be an order of magnitude cheaper than fossil fuels. In carbon capture and storage, there are a growing number of initiatives that might just buy us vital time as we make our transition to sustainable markets and a net zero economy.

In forestry, Ladies and Gentlemen, we can now transform wood, the most versatile natural material on the planet, into a new generation of wood-based products capable of offering alternatives to plastics, chemicals, textiles, transport and construction. Increasingly, we are seeing that the bioeconomy has the potential to ignite new industries and fuel sustainable markets – thus providing, at last, the economic incentive to value the vastly important eco-system services provided by the immense biodiversity and carbon-capture potential of restored and expanded forests, along with huge opportunities in integrated agro-forestry systems.

When the right sustainable goods and services are developed, proved and affordable, the choice to adopt them will become obvious. Truly to seize these opportunities, we need to visualize the future and have the confidence to invest in it. If there is one critical lesson we have to learn from this crisis it is that Nature, Ladies and Gentlemen, is not a separate asset class. Nature is, in fact, the life blood of our financial markets and, as such, we must – rapidly – re-align our own economy to mimic Nature’s economy and work in harmony with it.

After nearly fifty years of trying to champion this cause, I cannot help but feel that, finally, we are ready to change our trajectory. For my part, I have made Sustainable Markets my priority for 2020 and actually beyond – for however long it takes. I have instructed my teams and my organizations similarly to align with this effort – and I expect them to contribute. With the stakes this high, I would challenge you to do the same. And, critically, we must foster innovation – and here, if you will allow me, I would like to acknowledge the new Earthshot initiative of my son, The Duke of Cambridge, which seems to me to extol the sort of horizon-lifting approach we need in order to give us hope.

Beginning here at Davos, and throughout the year – and in order to identify game-changers, investments and barriers to transition – I will be convening a broad range of industry and issue roundtables including, but not limited to: aviation; water; carbon capture and storage; shipping; forestry; plastics; financing; digital technology; the bioeconomy; nature-based solutions; renewable energy; batteries, storage and electric vehicles; fisheries; integrated healthcare; cement; steel; traceability and labelling; and agriculture – at the end of which I shall probably be dead. So Ladies and Gentlemen, as we look to design and create sustainable markets and industries, these roundtables will bring together system innovators, investors and decision-makers to start designing and charting the course.

I believe profoundly in the critical importance, at this juncture, of forming an unprecedented global alliance of investors which can genuinely mobilize the kind of trillions of dollars needed to put our economy on the correct path. This would be the most dramatic act of responsible leadership ever seen by the global private sector and would at once provide a catalytic incentive for the public sector to follow.

With 2020 being seen as the ‘super year’, kick-starting a decade of action for people and planet, there is also an opportunity to bring sustainable markets into focus in each of this year’s major global meetings. While it will be a bit of a challenge for me to get to them all, I intend to do my utmost to ensure that the message of urgency, systemic change, collaboration and integration is heard.

After all, Ladies and Gentlemen, do we want to go down in history as the people who did nothing to bring the world back from the brink in time to restore the balance when we could have done? I don’t want to. And just think for a moment – what good is all the extra wealth in the world, gained from ‘business as usual’, if you can do nothing with it except watch it burn in catastrophic conditions? This is why I need your help, your ingenuity and your practical skills to ensure that the private sector leads the world out of the approaching catastrophe into which we have engineered ourselves.

It is my greatest possible hope that you will join me this year in accelerating the transition to sustainable markets and rapid decarbonisation – Ladies and Gentlemen, you all have a seat at the table as this must be the year that we put ourselves on the right track. Everything I have tried to do, and urge, over the past fifty years has been done with our children and grandchildren in mind, because I did not want to be accused by them of doing nothing except prevaricate and deny the problem. Now of course, they are accusing us of exactly that. Put yourselves in their position, Ladies and Gentlemen. We simply cannot waste any more time – the only limit is our willingness to act, and the time to act is now.

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