Charles visits Rio to talk climate change
by Alan Harten
March 9, 2009
Prince Charles embarks today on a ten-day visit to South America.
Throughout his tour he will act as a statesman for the British Government on climate issues.
On Thursday, he will make a significant speech to business leaders in Rio de Janeiro, in which he will say that the world only has eight years left to reduce carbon emissions and avoid cataclysmic consequences, as already forecast by global warming experts.
He will emphasise the need for businesses to react by reducing their emissions, even during a global financial downturn.
He made a similar speech in São Paulo in 1991.
Since Brazil has the largest rainforest, Prince Charles will encourage international unity to fight deforestation as a build up to the UN December conference in Copenhagen.
British government sources have said that the Prime Minister wants to deploy internationally the Prince’s wide experience, contacts and knowledge, especially on the environment.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) chose South America as an ideal continent for him to express his views.
FCO sources say he has attracted much respect for his campaigns for environmental welfare and the Prince’s visit is totally in line with the FCO’s agenda.
Recognising his status as a future head of state and his personal dedication to caring for the environment, the FCO feels he can have major influence overseas.
The royal tour, in the company of the Duchess of Cornwall, will visit Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador and end in the Galapagos Islands to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth.
It will place much importance on discussions with presidents, prime ministers, and senior politicians, designed to advance British interests overseas.
On Saturday the Prince will pay a visit to the Amazon, the planet’s largest rainforest.
Prince Charles will meet President Obama when he visits Britain in April for the G20 summit in London.
The Prince is expected to discuss global warming with the President.
Royal advisers are pleased about the greater role for the Prince.
One said he already has credentials as an international statesman, particularly on environmental matters.
Since the Queen is now 82, her schedule will be trimmed, inevitably.
The Prince is likely to take over more of the long Royal Tours and prolonged ceremonies.
However, the Queen’s aides say that Prince Charles should not yet be regarded as the King behind the throne.
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