Greta Thunberg to sail Atlantic for climate conferences

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has accepted a ride across the Atlantic by boat to attend two key climate conferences.

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The teenager will make the journey aboard the Malizia II, a high-speed 18-metre (60ft) yacht built to race around the globe.

“We’ll be sailing across the Atlantic Ocean from the UK to New York in mid August,” she tweeted.

Thunberg refuses to fly because of the environmental impact of air travel.

In a Facebook post, Team Malizia said they were “honoured to sail Greta Thunberg emission free across the Atlantic”.

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She had previously said that she wanted to attend the UN Climate Action summit in New York on 23 September, but was struggling to work out how to make it without taking a plane or going on a cruise ship – which have similarly high emissions.

Hurricanes also often deter sailors from trans-Atlantic journeys in August.

“Taking a boat to North America is basically impossible,” she previously told the Associated Press news agency.

Now, the 16-year-old will be able to attend the New York conference. She will later journey by low-carbon transport south to the annual Santiago Climate Change Conference in December.

Malizia II was built to compete in the 2016-2017 round-the-world Vendée Globe race. The high-tech vessel generates electricity through solar panels and underwater turbines.

Thunberg and her father will make the crossing with captain Boris Herrmann, Monaco royal family member Pierre Casiraghi and a Swedish documentary maker, Nathan Grossman. The journey is expected to take about two weeks.

A spokeswoman for Team Malizia told the BBC they approached Thunberg to offer to take her, and had no previous plan to sail the yacht across the Atlantic.

It is not known how the activist will return to Europe. She is staying in the Americas for nine months, so as yet Team Malizia has no plan to take her back to Europe.

The team has not yet calculated the cost of the trip.

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