Prince Charles has urged Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, to attend the Glasgow Climate Conference COP26. He referred to the meeting as “the last chance saloon” to address the climate crisis.
Morrison has yet to make a public statement about whether he will represent his government at the conference. He has referenced the 14-day quarantine requirement on his return as one reason for his hesitancy.
When the presenter told Charles of Scott Morrison’s reason for not committing to travelling to Glasgow, the prince seemed surprised.
He stopped walking and looked at the interviewer as he replied: “Is that what he says, is it?”” #auspol https://t.co/0z4CO52tDv
— Jenny Frecklington-Jones; #Vaccinate ??️??? (@JonesHowdareyou) October 11, 2021
This excuse has not been popular down under:
@ScottMorrisonMP you MUST attend Glasgow meeting! It would be embarrassing for all Australians for you to fail to do so because you don't want to quarantine! This is a once in a generation opportunity for Australia to be on the right side of history.
— Denise Nicholls (@RevDJNicholls) October 11, 2021
However, many believe that he is waiting to see if he can reach an agreement with his junior coalition partner, the National Party, on a plan to reach net-zero carbon emissions. The Conversation's Michelle Grattan has argued that this is essential if the PM is to appear on the world stage:
Morrison needs to be able to commit to net zero emissions by 2050 and to improve the government’s medium term ambition, if he is to keep faith with the expectations of Australia’s allies, the United States and Britain.
The Nationals represent rural and regional areas and are vocal advocates for farming and mining, especially fossil fuel producers. Morrison is a member of the Liberal Party, which is the senior partner in the government.
The PM has been under lots of pressure from world leaders such as US President Joe Biden and UK PM Boris Johnson, to announce a carbon target for 2050.
Australia may see negative economic consequences if it is perceived as not pulling its weight on addressing the climate crisis. The Business Council of Australia is just one of the major economic groups arguing for the net-zero target.
A burst of humor emerged on social media when the prince revealed that he runs his Aston Martin car on fuel made from “cheese and white wine.” He was explaining his attempts to limit his carbon footprint. These tweets were typical:
If I had an Aston Martin I should EXPECT it ran on wine and cheese… and/or unicorn blood.
— Peter Aylan-Parker (@paylanparker) October 11, 2021
It was no surprise that “Prince Charles” topped the Australian Twitter trends with “Aston Martin” not far behind.
Others were critical of the prince’s intervention in politics:
Prince Charles, a man who got his furniture shipped between houses (including his special toilet seat), has countless servants, and lives in palaces is on the radio lecturing about saving the planet again. Abolish the monarchy; that would save *a lot* of carbon.
— Mic Wright (@brokenbottleboy) October 11, 2021
Wow what luck Prince Charles old Aston Martin runs on recycled wine & he only eats meat 5 days a week and Dairy 6 days a week…what a caring heir to the throne we have sparing us his time at he strolls the extensive gardens at his home on The Balmoral Estate
— Barbara (@BarbaraSutton15) October 11, 2021
After the jibes from Britain, reports indicate that Prime Minister Morrison will likely attend COP26. However, government sources have apparently denied that the prince’s remarks may have influenced him. There are plenty of skeptics:
He will probably attend now but deny that that had anything to do with it.
He will probably go on to say that he was always going to attend.
— Peter Kennedy (@northcote_dad) October 12, 2021
As heir to the British crown, Charles will become the King of Australia and Head of State as part of its constitutional monarchy. In that role, political convention would prevent him from making these kinds of public remarks about Australia's government or its leader.