In Brief

How eco-warrior Greta Thunberg travels

Climate change activist to sail to US on ‘zero-carbon’ racing yacht to attend key summits

Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg has found a suitably green way to travel from the UK to the US in order to spread her message - a high-speed racing yacht. 

The 16-year-old is taking a sabbatical year from school to focus on her campaigning, but had been puzzling over how to cross the Atlantic to attend two key United Nations climate summits after travelling to Britain by train in April, reports The Times. Thunberg has described the summits - on 23 September in New York and 2-13 December in Santiago, Chile - as  “pretty much where our future will be decided”, adds The Guardian.

“It’s on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean,” she said in June. “And there are no trains going there. And since I don’t fly, because of the enormous climate impact of aviation, it’s going to be a challenge.”

The Stockholm-based teenager, who inspired the Fridays for Future global school climate strike movement, told the Associated Press (AP) that she did not want to travel by cruise ship either, because of their high emissions.

“Taking a boat to North America is basically impossible,” she said. “I have had countless people helping me, trying to contact different boats.”

However, yesterday Thunberg announced on Twitter yesterday that she had accepted “a ride on the 60ft racing boat Malizia II” and will set sail to New York City in mid August.

Based in Brittany and sponsored by the Yacht Club de Monaco, the yacht was built for the 2016-17 single-handed, round-the-world Vendee Globe race and is made with solar panels and underwater turbines, creating zero-carbon electricity.

The club said on its Facebook page that it is “honoured to be able to sail Greta Thunberg emission-free over the Atlantic”.

During the two-week journey, Thunberg will be accompanied by her father, Svante; the yacht’s skipper, Borris Hermann; a filmmaker; and Pierre Casiraghi, the grandson of Monaco’s late Prince Rainier III and US actress Grace Kelly.

After arriving in New York, where she will take part in several meetings and protests, Thunberg aims to travel by train and bus to the annual UN climate conference in the Chilean capital, with stops in Canada, Mexico and other countries.

Her father told the Financial Times in February that the family had bought an electric car and stopped flying when his daughter was 11 years old - a “rule that effectively ended Thunberg’s opera-singer mother’s international career”, notes the newspaper.

But while increasing numbers of people worldwide are following their lead in adopting greener lifestyles, Thunberg told AP that she is not sure how her message will be received in the US. Meeting with President Donald Trump, who opposes the radical measures that scientists say are required to limit global warming, would be “just a waste of time”, she added.

“I have nothing to say to him,” she continued. “He obviously doesn’t listen to the science and the scientists. So why should I, a child with no proper education, be able to convince him?”

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