The Prince of Wales has suggested that the conflict currently on-going in Syria, which has led to events such as the refugee crisis and terrorism, is linked to climate change.
In a wide-ranging exclusive interview with Sky News, Prince Charles said that drought and competition for increasingly scarce resources has been one of the main catalysts leading up to the refugee crisis, which has seen thousands of people leave the Middle East embarking on a long and treacherous journey to Europe, in which so many have lost their lives.
The heir to the throne said: “We’re seeing a classic case of not dealing with the problem, because, I mean, it sounds awful to say, but some of us were saying 20 something years ago that if we didn’t tackle these issues you would see ever greater conflict over scarce resources and ever greater difficulties over drought, and the accumulating effect of climate change, which means that people have to move.
“And, in fact, there’s very good evidence indeed that one of the major reasons for this horror in Syria, funnily enough was a drought that lasted for about five or six years, which meant that huge numbers of people in the end had to leave the land”.
However, the 67-year-old Prince does not just think that climate change plays a role in the refugee crisis; he also believes that there is a link to terrorism and in the long-term, this problem will just worsen.
“It’s only in the last few years that the Pentagon have actually started to pay attention to this. I mean it has a huge impact on what is happening. I mean the difficulty is sometimes to get this point across – that if we just leave it and say, well there are obviously lots of, there are endless problems arising all over the place therefore we deal with them in a short-term way, we never deal with the underlying root cause which regrettably is what we’re doing to our natural environment.”
The interview, broadcast on Monday 23rd November, was filmed before the events of Paris a couple of weeks ago where 130 people were killed in a coordinated terror attack by so-called militant group, ‘Islamic State’. It is in Paris where Charles is anticipated to deliver a keynote speech at the United Nations climate change conference next week.
Trying to protect the environment has been one of Charles’ major aims over the years. He regularly addresses conferences in the presence of world leaders about the issue, and how to tackle climate change and global warming.
Sky News‘s Royal Correspondent, Rhiannon Mills, interviewed the Prince asking him whether, in a time of austerity, we can afford to tackle climate change.
In response he said: “The trouble is if we don’t, this is the awful thing, if we don’t it’s going to get so much worse, then life will become very, very complicated indeed, and what we’re experiencing now will be as nothing to the problems.
“I mean the difficulties in 2008 with the financial crash – that was a banking crisis. But we’re now facing a real possibility of nature’s bank going bust. If you see it like that, we’ve been putting so much pressure on the natural systems and all those aspects of nature that we take for granted.
“Obviously I try to be as optimistic as possible, but sometimes you think that – do we really have to face catastrophes and chaos before we understand that real action needs to be taken? The difficulty with all that, is that by the time you try to take the action, it’s already too late.”
The 30 minute interview ‘Climate Crisis: Prince Charles Speaks Out’ will air on Sky News at 20:00 GMT on Monday 23rd November.
Photo Credit: Credit: Catholic Church of England and Wales