COP26: Queen 'irritated' by leaders who 'talk but don't do' on climate

·3-min read

The Queen has said she is irritated by the lack of progress on climate issues ahead of the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow.

The 95-year-old monarch was speaking after opening the Senedd in Cardiff as she criticised those who "talk but don't do".

Her comments were part of a conversation with the Duchess of Cornwall and Elin Jones, the parliament's presiding officer.

Parts of the tapes are inaudible but the Queen is reported to have said in the first clip: "I've been hearing all about COP...I still don't know who's coming."

In a second clip, she appears to say it is "irritating" when "they talk, but they don't do".

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News that "comments made in private should stay private".

Speaking to Kay Burley, he added: "But we all share the desire to see progress made and we know there will be hundreds of leaders coming to Glasgow for COP.

"We will wait to see whether it lives up to - whether they all live up to - expectation, it's very important we get this job done.

"I don't think her comments were for broadcast."

Labour's shadow housing secretary Lucy Powell said: "I think the Queen is a very wise woman and we should listen to her words carefully because she really does have point."

The Queen will attend a diplomatic reception at the summit, with the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

It comes as Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed on Friday he would be attending COP26 as his conservative government faces global pressure to take further action to cut carbon emissions.

He had originally been unsure whether he would travel to Glasgow, due to COVID-19, but those concerns are easing as Sydney ends its quarantine requirements on 1 November.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin and China's President Xi Jinping have not confirmed their attendance.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the Queen's remarks.

Earlier on Thursday, the Queen's grandson Prince William criticised the space race, saying that it detracts from the work needed to save the planet.

The Duke of Cambridge told the BBC: "We need some of the world's greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live."

His comments were made after Star Trek actor William Shatner became the oldest person to reach space. The film star called his trip "the most profound experience".

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The 90-year-old blasted off from Texas on a Blue Origin rocket - the space company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Meanwhile, fellow billionaires Richard Branson and Elon Musk have developed their own space programmes.

The duke also said the COP26 summit required world leaders to communicate "very honestly" and "very clearly" about solutions to global warming.

"We can't have more clever speak, clever words but not enough action," he said.

The Queen's grandson, Prince Harry, has called for a suspension on oil and gas drilling in southern Africa.

In an opinion piece in the Washington Post, the Duke of Sussex wrote: "The Okavango watershed is a natural beating heart that has nourished humans and wildlife in southern Africa for generations - and it's at risk.

"The Okavango River Basin is under siege by ReconAfrica, a Canadian oil and gas company that has been granted licenses for exploratory drilling in an area of Namibia and Botswana larger than some European countries."

In the piece, which Harry co-authored with Namibian environment activist Reinhold Mangundu, the royal said there are "critical" concerns about the impact of drilling on the climate.

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