Climate change: Our actions this decade will determine planet’s fate for next 1,000 years, Prince William to warn

The Prince of Wales has spoken of how proud he is of Prince William ahead of the first Earthshot award ceremony – reaffirming their joint father and son “commitment to the environment” and “restoring harmony between nature, people and planet”.

The Duke of Cambridge’s Earthshot Prize, described by his royal foundation as the most prestigious global prize for the environment in history, will finally become a reality tonight as he helps host the ceremony at Alexandra Palace in London.

Prince Charles acknowledged William’s achievement ahead of the event, saying: “I am very proud of my son, William, for his growing commitment to the environment and the bold ambition of The Earthshot Prize.

“As a world, we need to come together to inspire, reimagine and build the sustainable future we so desperately need. Over the coming decade, with future generations in mind, The Earthshot Prize, and its inspirational nominees, will help us find the innovative solutions.”

Prince Charles added: “In parallel, through my Terra Carta and Sustainable Markets Initiative, we will work to mobilise the trillions of dollars required to transition the global economy onto a more sustainable trajectory.

Together, with all those who join us, we have a real opportunity to deliver a brighter future for humanity while restoring harmony between nature, people and planet.”

Members of the Royal Family don’t often publicly praise each other’s initiatives in in this way, but both men have made combating the climate crisis a central part of their work.

In an interview this week, Prince William described how his father has had a “really rough ride” throughout his decades of environmental campaigning.

The first five winners of The Earthshot Prize will be unveiled later, with each awarded £1m to help support and scale up their innovations and ideas.

The prize aims to reward any individual, group, city, country or company working on solutions, not just those working on new technology.

The fifteen finalists won’t be in London but celebrating their work, and how they are tackling the challenges posed by climate change, will be at the heart of the event.

During the ceremony Prince William, will say: “We are alive in the most consequential time in human history… The actions we choose or choose not to take in the next 10 years will determine the fate of the planet for the next 1,000.

“A decade doesn’t seem long, but humankind has an outstanding record of being able to solve the unsolvable. Many of the answers are already out there… but we need everyone – from all parts of society – to raise their ambition and unite in repairing our planet. The future is ours to determine. And if we set our minds to it, nothing is impossible.”

Prince William and his team have been working on the idea for the Earthshot Prize since 2018, after he felt too much pessimism in the climate debate was making people switch off.

With the belief that we have a decade to repair the planet, five £1m prizes will be awarded every year for the next 10 years.

Japanese astronaut Naoko Yamazaki is on the Earthshot Council, which has helped to choose this year’s winners.

Explaining to Sky News why she thinks the award can drive positive change, she said: “What I like about the Earthshot is that it covers all the layers, from the individual, to the company, organisation, to the government level, and actually the 15 finalists cover various layers as well. And each layer is very important, in each layer everybody can play a big role to the environment, so the Earthshot can tell everybody ‘you are the key person to protect our environment’ so that’s important.

“And of course, climate change is progressing, and unfortunately it gets severe each year so the next 10 years is very critical. We will get to an irreversible point and it is going to be too late, so we have to consolidate and unite our efforts. That’s why the Earthshot Prize is a prestigious global effort.”

The ceremony has been described as the most sustainable event of its kind. Sir David Attenborough, another member of the Earthshot Council, will speak at the event.

Ed Sheeran, KSI, Yemi Alade, and Shawn Mendes will all perform, along with Coldplay whose performance, from outside of Alexandra Palace, will use energy powered by 60 cyclists.

The Duchess of Cambridge will present one of the awards, with Emma Thompson, Emma Watson, David Oyelowo and Mo Salah presenting the other prizes.

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