Charles accused of ‘never listening to scientists’ as heir launches radical eco-initiative

Prince Charles: People thought I was 'dotty' over climate fears

The Prince of Wales will launch an appeal asking major businesses to contribute to his new sustainability programme today. The Terra Carta, also known as the Earth Charter, is a 10-year plan which aims to raise $10billion (£7.3billion) towards protecting the planet’s resources. The name is a throwback to the Magna Carta — the immensely important 800-year-old document which laid out the rights of every Englishman — and perhaps reflects Charles’ ambitions for the magnitude of this project.

This is far from the first time Charles has stepped into the debate on how to tackle climate change.

He has been a firm advocate for preserving the Earth’s natural resources and protecting the environment for decades — but this supposedly pro-science stance has come under fire.

Science writer Simon Singh examined Charles’ seemingly contradictory opinions towards the discipline, as he has long backed alternative medicines and “unproven remedies” while pushing the public to trust scientists on the climate emergency.

Mr Singh asked: “So why does Prince Charles listen to scientists in relation to climate change but not listen to them in relation to alternative medicine?

“My suspicion is that he never really pays attention to any scientists and has no real understanding of how science works.

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“Instead, he has a set of firm prejudices and if the science backs up the prejudice then great, and if it does not then the science must be wrong.

“Instead of listening to his own voices, it would be better if Prince Charles began to listen to the scientific experts.”

This is one of many debates Charles has been caught up in with scientists over the years.

Writing in The Guardian in 2009, Mr Singh was criticising the Prince of Wales just as he was embroiled in a spat over his Duchy Originals’ herbal remedies.

The royal was scrutinised for selling products which supposedly “detoxed” the consumer, despite actually having little effect.

Charles also received a scathing attack for his attitude to “alternative” medicine when promoting unproven cures for cancer back in 1984.

Professor Michael Baum, cancer specialist at University College London, disputed Charles’ beliefs and said: “The power of my authority comes with a knowledge built on 40 years of study and 25 years of active involvement in cancer research.

“Your power and authority rest on an accident of birth.”

While Charles has been on steadier ground with his activism towards the climate, even his environmental advocacy has been pulled apart.

Last year, he spoke at the Davos Summit about how corporations must change their attitudes towards the climate.

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He said: “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?”

He added: “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?”

It was later revealed that he had flown to the conference via private jet, one of the least environmentally friendly methods of travel — seemingly proving to his critics that his actions did not match up to his words.

His attack on the world’s wealthiest also seemed at odds with his own personal finances, as he is propped up by the £1billion Duchy of Cornwall.

Charles is known to be a firm believer in foxhunting, too, which contradicts his conservation efforts in the past.

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Additionally, his green credentials have been called into question through his ownership of several extensive properties which have to be maintained all year round, undoubtedly adding to his carbon footprint.

Even so, the Prince of Wales has been more determined than ever this year to campaign for tackling climate change.

He has pushed for “swift and immediate action” to be taken, especially as the coronavirus pandemic has provided a “window of opportunity” to reset the economy.

Speaking in September, he said: “The [climate] crisis has been with us for far too many years — decried, denigrated and denied.

“It is now rapidly becoming a comprehensive catastrophe that will dwarf the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”

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