By Chioma Iruke
Britain’s Prince William has ignited controversy by calling on space tourists to fix issues concerning the planet Earth rather than venturing into space.
Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson’s comment which was in a BBC interview ahead of the COP26 climate summit, is scheduled to be aired a day after 90-year-old “Star Trek” star William Shatner became a real space traveller on Blue Origin’s second crewed mission.
The company’s maiden human flight in July had included its founder Jeff Bezos of Amazon and was seen as a breakthrough for the emerging space tourism sector.
But Prince William said: “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.”
The comments by William, second in line to the UK throne, were rebuffed by critics who pointed to the scientific value of mankind’s decades-old forays into the final frontier.
William was speaking ahead of the inaugural Earthshot Prize awards ceremony on Sunday, his initiative to honour those working on environmental solutions.
Looking ahead to the COP26 summit in Glasgow, which begins on October 31, he warned world leaders against “clever speak, clever words, but not enough action”.
“It would be an absolute disaster if (son) George is sat here talking to you… in like 30 years’ time, still saying the same thing, because by then we will be too late.”
Queen Elizabeth, Charles and William are all due to attend events at the two-week summit.
The gathering will try to persuade major developing economies to do more to cut their carbon emissions, and get the rich world to cough up billions more to help poorer countries adapt to climate change.