Queen Elizabeth II, who advocated for climate action, dies at 96

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Queen Elizabeth II, who spent decades pressuring developed countries to tackle the sources of climate change, died Thursday at the age of 96.

The Queen died at Balmoral Castle, her summer residence in Scotland, the royal family announcement on his Twitter account. She ascended the throne in 1952 and is both the oldest and longest serving British monarch.

The Associated Press reported that she was accompanied by her son, Charles, who succeeds her mother to the throne, as well as his wife, Camilla. Other family members were also present.

In recent months, the Queen has faced health issues, including an undisclosed illness that prompted her to pull out of the UN climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland last November, and contracted Covid-19 earlier this year (E&E News PMOctober 26, 2021).

While the monarch has closely guarded her personal views during her reign, she has occasionally let out her irritation at other heads of state who she feels are not adequately addressing climate change.

In mid-October last year, the Queen was caught on microphone appearing to criticize global inaction on climate change, during a visit to Cardiff to open the Welsh parliament (green wireOctober 15, 2021).

In video recorded by phone, the monarch is seen talking to her daughter-in-law, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and another person at the United Nations conference.

“I heard about COP…I still don’t know who’s coming,” the queen said, according to an AP report. She also seems to state that it’s “irritating” when “they talk, but they don’t”.

The late monarch began publicly embracing environmental causes soon after the early 2000s, mentioning the subject in a speech before the UN, in a Commonwealth Day message and even in his annual Christmas Day address.

In 2004, the Queen made headlines for privately pressuring then Prime Minister Tony Blair to tackle climate change more aggressively with the then President. , George W. Bush.

The Observera Sunday newspaper in the UK, reported the confidential exchange, an unusual leak in conversations between the country’s top elected official and his monarch.

“From her own observations about the climate, she became worried like the rest of us. She made it clear that she wanted to raise the importance of the issue,” the confidential source said at the time. newspaper, identified as “one of Britain’s foremost experts on climate change”.

Shortly after this meeting, the Queen opened an Anglo-German conference on climate change, hosted at the British Embassy.

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2009 – which brings together 54 member states, including the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, as well as former territories of the British Empire – the sovereign pressed more publicly for environmental action.

“The Commonwealth can be proud of the fact that in each of its six decades it has shaped the international response to emerging global challenges,” the Queen said, according to the Toronto Star. “The threat to our environment is not a new concern. But it is now a global challenge that will continue to affect the security and stability of millions of people for years to come. Many of those affected are among the most vulnerable, and many of those least able to withstand the adverse effects of climate change live in the Commonwealth. »

The following year, the queen appeared before the UN at its headquarters in New York, where she cited terrorism and climate change as the organization’s major challenges.

“Careful consideration must be given to the risks faced by smaller and more vulnerable countries, many of which belong to the Commonwealth,” she said.

The Queen celebrated her platinum jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne, earlier this year.

A visit to Yosemite in 1983

Bob Binnewies, then superintendent of Yosemite National Park, points out highlights from Inspiration Point to Queen Elizabeth II during her March 5, 1983 visit to the California park. | Walt Zeboski/AP Photo

During her reign, Elizabeth marked Yosemite National Park, and vice versa.

In a visit in 1983 that combined high honors with unexpected horror, the monarch became the first member of the British royal family to visit the iconic park. She marveled at the scenery, of course, but she also cried a memorial service for three US Secret Service agents who died on duty during his visit.

The officers were killed in a head-on crash with a deputy sheriff’s car as they drove several miles past a long motorcade heading into the park along mountainous roads. Two deputies from Mariposa County, Calif., were injured.

News reports at the time reported that royal visitors detoured around the scene of the crash and continued to the park, where the Queen was said to have “paused for about five minutes” at the famous Inspiration Point before departing. continue to Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley. , California.

There, the couple took over the sixth-floor suites while the 200-member entourage filled the rest of the hotel.

After the memorial service held in a forest chapel, the Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, received gifts including a Native American-made wicker basket, a brass plaque and a signed print of Ansel Adams’ photograph of 1944 “Clearing Winter Storm”. ”

The Queen and her husband Prince Philip then strolled through the valley, with the Queen taking snapshots and asking a ranger many questions about animals and wildlife and Philip asking if the park still had grizzly bears.

“I told him I thought the last one was killed in the 1920s,” said William Burgen, the park’s assistant superintendent at the time.

Succession and environment

Charles, the Queen’s 73-year-old son, succeeds his mother to the throne and will be known as King Charles III.

The former Prince of Wales is a strong advocate for environmental issues, a stance which raised concerns over a possible clash with former President Donald Trump during the latter’s visit to the UK in 2017.

According to a report by The (London) Times, Trump administration aides have warned Buckingham Palace not to allow Charles to ‘lecture’ the president on climate change, warning the Republican could ‘burst’. Trump has repeatedly called climate change a “hoax.”

But in a later interview with Britain’s ITV network, Trump praised the then prince for his embrace of climate action.

“He’s really into climate change, and I think that’s great. I mean, I want that. I like that,” Trump Told the network. “What he really wants, and what he really feels, is the future. He wants to make sure that future generations have a favorable climate, as opposed to a catastrophic climate. And I’m d ‘OK.”

The late Queen’s grandson and future heir to the throne, Prince William, also embraced efforts to tackle climate change.

The young royal established the Earthshot Prize in 2020 through his charity, the Royal Foundation, to fund new ideas and technologies targeting climate change.

The scheme, which will run until 2030, rewards five winners each year with grants of £1 million, or around $1.4 million (green wireOctober 18, 2021).

In a Recorded message at the UN climate conference in November, the Queen noted that Philip – who died in April 2021 aged 99 – was also a supporter of tackling climate change and pollution as early as the late 1990s 1960.

“It gives me great pride 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. I couldn’t be more proud of them,” the Queen said.

She added: “None of us underestimate the challenges ahead: but history has shown that when nations come together for a common cause, there is always room for hope. By working side by side, we have the ability to solve the most insurmountable problems and triumph over the greatest of adversities.

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