In a speech on tropical forest science yesterday at St James’ Palace in London, Prince Charles called for businesses to take more action on environmental issues and stressed that “the Earth’s physical, chemical and biological systems are crying out to be treated – now”.

At the two-day conference for scientists, Prince Charles told delegates that “any scientist is likely to find him or her self up the proverbial double blind gum-tree” if opposition from sceptics and corporate lobbyists continue.

The Prince went on to compare the earth to a “dying patient” and that it was the responsibility of society to act as a “doctor” to tackle issues relating to climate change.

Prince Charles said: “If we think for a moment of the impact of climate change, aided and abetted by tropical forest destruction, not in scientific terms, but as a doctor would view the problem, we see that whereas in science a hypothesis is tested until absolute proof is secured, in medicine there is no time to be absolutely certain”.

“If a child is presented to a doctor with a fever, the doctor cannot wait until results of tests come back from the lab. The doctor must act on what evidence is already there.

“There is an urgency and it depends upon the risk involved – and, given that this is the greatest risk we have ever faced, surely, as the doctor, we cannot wait to act,” he added.

Others who attended the conference include the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson, and the Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey.

Davey said the Government is driving an “ambitious and innovative strategy” and commended the scientists gathered at the meeting for their “noble and necessary work”.

He added: “I can’t compromise here because the science is overwhelming – because climate change threatens every man, woman and child.”

The Prince, along with the scientists, has also issued a St. James’s Palace memorandum on tropical forest science, calling for “strategic investment” and global action to stop deforestation.

Prince Charles has regularly voiced his opinion on the effects of climate change and has said it would be an “act of suicide on a grand scale” to disregard environmental issues.

Leigh Stringer

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