Speaking to members of the European Parliament in Brussels, he attacked climate change skeptics he said are denying a vast body of evidence supporting global warming, the BBC reported Wednesday.
"I would ask how these people are going to face their grandchildren and admit to them they failed their future," he said.
They are playing "a reckless game of roulette with the future inheritance of those who come after us," he said.
Problems with the environment have led directly to economic difficulties, the prince said.
"I cannot see how we can possibly maintain the growth of GDP [gross domestic product] in the long term if we continue to consume our planet as voraciously as we are doing," he said.
Citing the destruction of the rainforests, he said stopping the practice was "not a lifestyle choice" and that failing to address it would mean an end to any chance of stopping climate change.
But the prince also had some criticisms of environmentalists for concentrating too much "on what people need to stop doing."
"If we are constantly told that living environmentally friendly lives means giving up all that makes life worthwhile, then it is no surprise that people refuse to change," he said.