Despite campaigning for years on global warming, he said climate change was not the only problem but merely speeding up the “rapacious” destruction of natural resources like water, land and food that humans need to survive.

The Prince said if the world carries on “business as usual” then the human race itself could be in danger.

“We are, of course, witnessing what some people call the sixth great extinction event – the continued erosion of much of the Earth’s vital biodiversity caused by a whole host of pressures, from the rising demand for land to the corrosive effects of all kinds of pollution,” he said.