How Prince Charles and President Trump Differ on Climate Change: In Their Own Words
There's said to be tension between the two on climate change ahead of Trump's anticipated state visit to the U.K.
With a visit to the United Kingdom — and a state dinner — on the horizon for the British royal family and President Trump, there has been talk as to how a potential interaction between Prince Charles and Trump would play out.
In particular, there have been questions as to whether or not Charles would raise the topic of climate change with Trump, who has previously called it a “hoax” and removed the White House website page on the subject within hours of taking office.
Although the royal family typically doesn’t speak out on political matters, Prince Charles has broken with tradition on a number of occasions, particularly when it comes to environmental matters. He gave his first speech on the environment in 1968, when he was just 20 years old.
Charles does not plan to lecture Trump on climate change, though based on Trump’s previous statements on the subject, Charles will likely be tempted. Here, a look back at what the two have said about climate change in the past.
On the origins of climate change:
“Since the Industrial Revolution, human beings have been upsetting that balance [of nature], persistently choosing short-term options and to hell with the long-term repercussions.”
— Charles, in a speech at the Saving the Ozone Layer World Conference, in March 1989
“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
— Trump, on Twitter, in November 2012
On the state of climate change today:
“We need to be realistic. There is very little we can do now to stop the ice from disappearing from the North Pole in the summer. And we probably cannot prevent the melting of the permafrost and the resulting release of methane. In addition, I fear that we may be too late to help the oceans maintain their ability to absorb carbon dioxide. But there is something we can do – and it could make the whole difference and buy us time to develop the necessary low carbon economies. We can halt the destruction of the world’s rainforests – and even restore parts of them – in order to ensure that the forests do what they are so good at – in other words storing carbon naturally.”
— Charles, in a 2008 speech in Indonesia
“I’m not a believer in man-made global warming. It could be warming, and it’s going to start to cool at some point. And you know, in the early, in the 1920s, people talked about global cooling…They thought the Earth was cooling. Now, it’s global warming…But the problem we have, and if you look at our energy costs, and all of the things that we’re doing to solve a problem that I don’t think in any major fashion exists.”
— Trump, to Hugh Hewitt, September 2015
On the importance of tackling climate change:
“We can take the scientific evidence and act accordingly, or we can find ways to remain unconvinced that robust and immediate action is necessary. The problem with the latter choice is that we will continue to test our world to destruction until we finally have the ‘evidence’ to show that its viability and habitability have been destroyed. And by the time we come to our senses, it is likely be too late to do anything about it.”
— Charles, in an article in the Mail on Sunday, January 2017
“When I hear Obama saying that climate change is the No. 1 problem, it is just madness.”
— Trump, to Sean Hannity, in June 2015
On how climate change is affecting their lives:
“The demand for organic food is growing at a remarkable rate. Consumers have made it clear that they want organic produce and every sector of the food chain is responding, with the kind of results we have just seen. I am told that sales of meat, vegetables and milk are expected to double in the next year, and other sectors won’t be that far behind. Indeed the current rate of growth of the market appears to be limited only by the availability of supply.”
— Charles, in a speech at the 1998 Soil Association Organic Food Awards, in October 1998. He started an organic food and sustainable products company, Duchy Originals, in 1990
“I want to use hair spray. They say, ‘Don’t use hair spray, it’s bad for the ozone.’ So I’m sitting in this concealed apartment, this concealed unit…It’s sealed, it’s beautiful. I don’t think anything gets out. And I’m not supposed to be using hair spray?”
— Trump, at a campaign stop in Hilton Head, South Carolina, January 2016
On climate change and other world issues:
“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 but increasingly they came into the cities…We never deal with the underlying root cause which regrettably is what we’re doing to our natural environment.”
— Charles, to Sky News, November 2015
“While the world is in turmoil and falling apart in so many different ways—especially with ISIS—our president is worried about global warming. What a ridiculous situation.”
— Trump, on Instagram, December 2015
On how to help:
“We might be more inclined to think about the longer term if we were more aware of what is happening around us. Perhaps daily weather forecasts could include a few basic facts about the Earth’s vital signs, or details of where climate change is increasing the likelihood of damaging weather?”
— Prince Charles, in an article for the Mail on Sunday, January 2017
“I have an open mind to it. We’re going to look very carefully. I have a very open mind. And I’m going to study a lot of the things that happened on it and we’re going to look at it very carefully.”
— Trump, to the New York Times, November 2016, on climate change and the Paris Agreement