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‘Protect our fragile planet’: Climate action to the fore in Platinum Jubilee celebrations

Climate action was given a central role in this weekend’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, with Prince William hailing the Queen’s pioneering role in promoting environmental protection and a raft of leading green campaigners featuring in this year’s Birthday Honors list.

Addressing huge crowds at the Platinum Party at the Palace on Saturday night, the Duke of Cambridge spoke during part of the event dedicated to ‘Our Green Planet’.

He highlighted how the decades his grandmother had spent “making the case for taking better care of our world has meant that environmental issues are now at the top of the global agenda”.

While the Royal family has faced criticism over the years over its environmental impact, Queen Elizabeth helped establish environmental campaigns as a priority for the Windsors, using her Christmas message in 1989 to declare that the “future of all life on earth depends on how we behave towards one another and how we treat the plants and animals that share our world with us “.

More recently, she addressed last year COP26 Climate Summit by video link and a recording of her message was projected on to the palace as part of this weekend’s festivities. “It is a source of great pride to me that the leading role my husband played in encouraging people to protect our fragile planet lives on through the work of our eldest son Charles and his eldest son William,” she said. “I could not be more proud of them.”

William said that he was similarly proud of his father and grandfather and “in awe of people like the great Sir David Attenborough who look at the beauty and power of our earth and then work to celebrate and preserve it”.

“While no one’s grandmother thanks them for talking about their age, my own grandmother has been alive for nearly a century,” he said. “In that time, mankind has benefited from unimaginable technological developments and scientific breakthroughs. And although those breakthroughs have increased our awareness of the impact humans have on our world, our planet has become more fragile.

“Today, in 2022 – as The Queen celebrates her Platinum Jubilee – the pressing need to protect and restore our planet has never been more urgent. But like her, I am an optimist.”

William – who recently launched the EarthShot Prize to reward and promote innovative green projects and technologies – said “more and more businesses and politicians are answering the call” to accelerate climate action and were joining a movement that is “spearheaded by an amazing and united generation of young people across the world “.

“Together, if we harness the very best of humankind, and restore our planet, we will protect it for our children, for our grandchildren and for future generations to come,” he said.

The comments came a day after many of the key architects of last year COP26 Climate Summit and resulting Glasgow Climate Pact were recognized in the Queen’s Birthday Honors List.

Titles were awarded to a host of diplomats and officials who worked on the Glasgow Summit, including advisor to the COP26 President Camilla Born, lead negotiator Archie Young, strategy director Charles Ogilvie, and campaigns and engagement director Matthew Toombs.

A host of environmental campaigners and activists, many of whom helped support the delivery of COP26, were similarly honored, including E3G co-founder Nick Mabey, CDP CEO Paul Simpson, Global Optimism co-founder Tom Rivett-Carnac, CEO for Children’s Investment Fund Foundation Kate Hampton, and Ruth Chambers of the Greener UK coalition.

Meanwhile, Richard Walker, CEO of Iceland, was awarded an OBE for services to business and the environment following the company high profile campaign to slash plastic waste and curb its environment impact.

Dame Susan Ion, received a Dame Grand Cross for international impact in the field of nuclear engineering and her work fostering the next generation of engineers from under-represented groups.

In addition there was a CBE for Professor James Durrant, for services to photochemistry and solar energy research; an OBE for Professor John Barrett, Professor of Energy and Climate Policy at the University of Leeds; and an MBE for Dr Richard Tipper for his services to science and the public understanding of climate change.

“This historic Platinum Jubilee is not only a celebration of the monarch but of the qualities it possesses,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “The honors she confers this week reflect many of those qualities that have been invaluable from all different walks of life and to communities across the UK.

“I pay tribute to all of this year’s winners. Their stories of courage and compassion are an inspiration to us all.”

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