The Washington PostThe Washington Post

The many paradoxes of Charles III as 'climate king'

By Shannon Osaka

13 Sep 2022 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

Studies have shown that colonialism has contributed to climate change. King Charles has been labelled by some as the "Climate King", the Washington Post argues the name might not hold much truth.

When King Charles III assumed the throne last week after the death of his mother, Britain's longest-reigning monarch, some commentators were quick to point out that the septuagenarian could be the nation's first "climate king." After all, the heir to Britain's throne has spent the last 50-odd years speaking out about climate change, pollution and deforestation. Much has been made of the new king's penchant for organic farming and his outspoken support for climate action. Last year, at the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, he urged the assembled world leaders to adopt a "warlike footing" to address the rapidly warming planet.

But Charles's environmental views are complex: He is both a classic environmentalist who loves nature, trees and wild animals, and a traditionalist who has battled against wind energy on his estate, flown around the world in a private jet and once critiqued the growth of population in the developing world. He represents some of the paradoxes of a world coming to grips with climate change: a man with extreme wealth and a significant carbon footprint speaking out against global warming; a political figurehead with very little real political clout.

Sign in to informed

  • Curated articles from premium publishers, ad-free
  • Concise Daily Briefs with quick-read summaries
  • Read, listen, save for later, or enjoy offline
  • Enjoy personalized content