Britain's Prince Charles has criticised "corporate lobbyists" and climate change sceptics for turning the earth into a "dying patient", in his most outspoken attack yet on the world's failure to tackle global warming.
He attacked businesses that failed to care for the environment, and compared the present generation to a doctor taking care of a critically ill patient.
"If you think about the impact of climate change, [it should be how] a doctor would deal with the problem," he told an audience of government ministers, from Britain and abroad, businesspeople and scientists on Thursday. "A scientific hypothesis is tested to absolute destruction, but medicine can't wait. If a doctor sees a child with a fever, he can't wait for [endless] tests. He has to act on what is there. The risk of delay is so enormous that we can't wait until we are absolutely sure the patient is dying."
Hosting a two-day conference for forest scientists at St James' Palace in London, Charles savagely satirised those who stand in the way of swift action on the climate. He characterised them as "the confirmed sceptics" and "the international association of corporate lobbyists". Faced with these forces of opposition, "science finds itself up the proverbial double blind gum tree", he said.
His audience included environment minister Owen Paterson, said by some who know him to be a climate change sceptic and who pointedly left climate change out of his speech and focused on other environmental issues such as biodiversity.
Charles is no stranger to controversy, having spoken out on issues from organic farming and alternative medicine to architecture. His words were warmly welcomed by the conference.