In his first speech to the European Parliament in 16 years, the Prince of Wales congratulated the Commission on its climate and energy proposals but highlighted the 'doomsday' urgency of fighting climate change, calling on the private sector to transfer 'huge sums' to help save the planet's rainforests.
"I would like to congratulate the Commission on its recently announced Climate Action and Renewable Energy Package", Prince Charles told an audience of MEPs and other EU representatives in Brussels on 14 February.
"Targets have been set and a road map developed, although I suspect that keeping to both will require substantial adjustments to the way we all think about energy, industry, transport – including aviation and maritime – and agriculture," he said.
But the Prince also criticised the EU and other international bodies for failing to provide sufficient leadership in the fight against climate change, particularly from the point of view of citizens, who often see "nothing but argument, disagreement and prevarication".
He also questioned whether Europeans have the "courage to weave climate change considerations into the fabric of every aspects of European development."
Fighting climate change is comparable to war, and a "courageous and revolutionary" approach is needed to avoid catastrophe, he said.
The private sector has a crucial role to play, according to Prince Charles, who wants to see transfers of "huge sums" of money to countries with high concentrations of tropical forests.
Revenues obtained through the auctioning of CO2 permits in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) could, according to the Prince, contribute to such a fund.
"I have great hopes that the next version of the European Emissions Trading scheme, either from the money raised from auctioning allowances or through some other mechanism, might extend the helping and very visible hand of a market approach to assist in keeping the rainforests standing," he said.
But such a transfer mechanism would require a separate agreement among EU countries, as member states are making it clear they do not want Brussels to dictate how the revenues accrued from EU ETS auctions are spent (EurActiv 11/02/08).