Prince William is contemplating the possibility of bringing his Earthshot Prize to China, despite the country being the largest emitter of CO2 in the world.
The annual award ceremony might take place in this East Asian country after 2024 in an attempt to accelerate changes in its environmental policies.
Prince William believes that Asia plays a crucial role in climate change and the environment, stating that "you can't exclude a big part of the planet when thinking about fighting for its future."
The future 41-year-old king discussed his plans for hosting his beloved Earthshot Prize in the country with the highest environmental pollution levels globally while in Singapore during last week's third annual award ceremony.
It is anticipated that the next two ceremonies will take place in Africa and South America, followed by Asian countries - China and India.
China is responsible for a third of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and 29 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, compared to 0.8 percent in the UK and 11 percent in the US.
Although President Xi Jinping has pledged to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, CO2 emissions in the country reached a record high in the first quarter of 2023.
When Prince William established the environmental prize in 2020, he did so with a decade-long mission to find ways to protect and restore the environment through innovative solutions.
The £50 million global initiative awards five £1 million prizes annually for Earthshot themes: clean air, oceans, waste reduction, climate change, and nature restoration.
Over the past year, the prize group has benefited 1.5 million people worldwide, restored 2.1 million hectares of the ocean, and offset 35,000 tons of CO2 emissions.
A royal source stated, "Ultimately, Prince William believes that when it comes to climate and the environment, Asia is crucial."
"He believes you can't exclude a big part of the planet when thinking about fighting for its future."
"He noted that despite tensions between the US and China, the US, through John Kerry, is seeking to work with China on climate issues."
Prince William has previously engaged with China on the issue of ivory trade, discussing the ban during a meeting with Xi Jinping in 2015 and addressing illegal wildlife trade on Chinese television.
Two years after William's official visit to the country, one of the world's largest consumers of ivory, China decided to ban this trade.
Hollywood actress Cate Blanchett and Prince William at the award ceremony. Hollywood actress Cate Blanchett and Prince William at the award ceremony. PHOTO: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Hannah Jones, CEO of the Earthshot Prize, said, "Asia as a whole is really at the forefront of dealing with the negative consequences of climate change."
"So if you think about how some consequences have manifested worldwide in terms of changing weather, floods, and heatwaves, you begin to see that entire communities in Asia are really taking the brunt of what is already happening in the world. At the same time, you see communities, innovators, investors, and governments taking really forward-thinking actions to create communities that are sustainable, adaptive, and mitigate the consequences of climate change."
A representative from Kensington Palace stated in Singapore that Prince William aims to inspire "the whole region on the Earthshot journey."
The heir to the throne's approach contrasts with that of his father, who is known to have never visited mainland China due to his views on the human rights situation in the regime.
Meanwhile, Britain's relations with the country have deteriorated in light of human rights abuses against Uighurs by the People's Republic, undermining the "one country, two systems" policy in Hong Kong, and its increasingly assertive approach to Taiwan's sovereignty.
During the G7 summit in Japan earlier this year, the Prime Minister referred to China as the world's biggest challenge.
"China poses the biggest challenge of our time to global security and prosperity," said Rishi Sunak, adding, "They are becoming increasingly authoritarian at home and assertive abroad."