William calls for faster pace in efforts to repair the planet

The duke introduced a Dragons’ Den-style event at the Dubai Expo allowing Earthshot Prize finalists to connect with investors.

10 February 2022

The Duke of Cambridge has warned “change is not happening fast enough or at the scale we need” to repair the planet and avert “devastating planetary and humanitarian” crises.

William voiced his concerns in a speech at the Dubai Expo 2020 and said despite the gains made at the recent Cop26 UN climate change summit “we are still in a race against time”.

The future king presented a possible solution – four finalists and a category winner from his environmental Earthshot Prize, whose innovative ideas mitigate damage to the environment, find use for waste material and make solar power affordable for many.

Duke of Cambridge visits UAE
The Duke of Cambridge speaks to Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, group chairman and CEO of DP World, during the Earthshot Prize Innovation Showcase at Expo2020 in Dubai (Chris Jackson/PA)

William told delegates: “If we do nothing, by 2030 we will be speeding towards increasingly devastating planetary and humanitarian crises as a result of our changing climate.

“Or, if we act now, we will be on a path towards a repaired and regenerated planet that will flourish for generations to come.”

The finalists had joined the duke at the Expo and later he introduced a Dragons’ Den-style event allowing the “eco innovators” to connect with investors and industry leaders who could scale up their ideas.

William went on to say: “While momentum is growing – and the strides made at Cop26 in Glasgow are testament to that – we are still in a race against time.

Duke of Cambridge visits UAE
William with His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, during his visit to the UK Pavilion at Expo2020 in Dubai (Chris Jackson/PA)

“That is why I founded the Earthshot Prize, a global prize and platform to discover, showcase, accelerate and scale groundbreaking solutions to repair our planet.”

The duke held the inaugural presentation ceremony for his environmental awards in the autumn and the appeal has already been made for 2022 nominees.

He said: “We want to see solutions led by women and indigenous peoples, using cutting-edge technology and new financial models which value nature.

“And finally we’re always on the lookout for wild cards – out of the box solutions that have transformative potential. They’re my favourites.”

Duke of Cambridge visits UAE
The duke speaks to DP World chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem during his visit to Jebel Ali Port (Henry Nicholls/PA)

Earlier the royal began a day of engagements in the United Arab Emirates by learning about efforts to safeguard the wetlands in the region as he planted saplings with school children in Jubail Mangrove Park in Abu Dhabi.

William’s visit marked the launch of the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative, between the Zoological Society of London and the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, to create a mangrove nursery as a centre of research, learning and outreach.

The duke also toured Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port, which is operated by DP World, a member of the Transport Taskforce of William’s United for Wildlife umbrella organisation, which is trying to tackle the illegal trade in items such as ivory and rhino horn and is working in the United Arab Emirates and other parts of the world.

DP World, a founding partner of the Earthshot Prize, announced £1 million in funding to be divided equally between two Earthshot Prize innovations whose creators pitched their ideas at the Expo.

They were Coral Vita, winner of the Revive Our Oceans Earthshot category for its coral farming process that restores dying reefs, and finalist Living Seawalls, which creates panels that mimic marine habitats such as rock pools and are fitted to coastal defences.

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