THE United Nations has honoured Monaco’s Prince Albert II and New Zealand’s Prime Minister Helen Clark for driving policies to tackle climate change.

The pair were among the seven winners in the annual UN Champions of the Earth awards. Prince Albert, who won the award for Europe for setting up an environmental foundation, said countries had to push their economies towards energy efficiency.

“We can’t go on as business as usual. Those who haven’t realised that yet will be sorry in a few years,'’ the prince said.

The UN, leading talks to find a climate pact to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, wants to highlight lifetimes dedicated to the environment with the awards, in their third year.

Previous winners include former US Vice President Al Gore.

Ms Clark, who did not attend a gala dinner in Singapore where winners received a trophy made of recycled metal, won for her goal to make New Zealand use 90 per cent renewable energy by 2025.

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