Prince Charles has spoken exclusively to Sky News TV station in the UK about climate change, ahead of the global climate summit COP21 to be held in Paris next week. He expresses concerns that we are heading towards "catastrophes and chaos" if we don’t address environmental issues, such as a rise in global temperatures, with more urgency.

In the interview the Prince also suggested that environmental issues may have been one of the root causes of the problems in Syria. He said: "We’re seeing a classic case of not dealing with the problem because, I mean it sounds awful to say, but some of us were saying 20 years ago that if we didn’t tackle these issues, you would see ever greater conflict over scarce resources and ever greater difficulties over drought, and the accumulating effect of climate change, which means that people have to move.

"And, in fact, there’s very good evidence indeed that one of the major reasons for this horror in Syria was a drought that lasted for about five or six years, which meant that huge numbers of people in the end had to leave the land. Water ran out, crops failed and so on."

As Prince Charles explained, increasing numbers of people moved into the cities which were already full of Iraqi refugees; combining to make a very volatile situation. Conflict often comes from the movement of people when they are forced to move as they cannot survive, he added.

The Prince has placed himself at the heart of the climate change debate for several decades. He will deliver a keynote speech at the opening of COP21 on 30 December. So many conferences have happened over the years, he commented, and this conference won’t be an end to the issue. He warns that it will probably be difficult to get the necessary agreement on actions and reductions to reduce global warming to two degrees Celsius or below.

“So we then have to follow up, this is the key, and ratchet up the commitments after the Paris conference," the Prince stated.

Talking about the economics of implementing climate change Prince Charles says it doesn’t have to be an either or situation. He gave the example of Sweden which has over the past 25 years decreased emissions by 23% while growing its economy by 55%.

“We have to find a way to re-integrate all these natural systems back into our own economy," he says. "We are part of nature ourselves but we have excluded that from our whole outlook on life."

Speaking about climate change and its effects around the globe which have been felt in the shape of catastrophic flooding and drought, the prince said that it is important that we tackle the issue with urgency.

“I try to be as optimistic as possible," he reflected, "but sometimes I think do we really have to face catastrophe and chaos until we understand that we need to take action? The difficulty is that when we do realise this, it is already too late."

Scientists believe that we are already on the path to a four degree rise in temperature and that a lot of work is needed to get back to two. We need to grasp a sense of real urgency about the situation, the prince concluded.