The Swedish teenager needs help getting back to Europe following the COP25 meetings move from Chile to Spain
As delegates to the COP25 climate summit scramble to adjust to a last-minute change of venue from Santiago to Madrid, one of the highest-profile attendees has stuck out a metaphorical thumb on social media to ask for a lift across the Atlantic.
Teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who was speaking in California during a stop on her low-emissions journey from Sweden to Chile, tweeted that she was now in need of a ride to Spain.
Thunberg, who refuses to fly because of the carbon emissions involved, had been travelling by boat, train and electric car when the new venue was announced.
It turns out Ive travelled half around the world, the wrong way:)…If anyone could help me find transport I would be so grateful, she tweeted from Los Angeles.
Thunberg arrived in New York for the UN climate summit in August after a 14-day journey across the Atlantic in a sailing boat. Since then she has been travelling via train and an electric car borrowed from Arnold Schwarzenegger.
She made headlines for her incendiary speech at the summit, where she berated the worlds leaders for their inaction on the climate emergency. This is all wrong, she said. I shouldnt be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean.
Yet, you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet Im one of the lucky ones.
The UN announced on Friday that Spain would host next months COP25, after Chile abandoned plans to hold it due to deadly anti-government protests. Some 25,000 delegates were expected to travel to Santiago for the event.
Harjeet Singh, of environmental group ActionAid International, said moving the summit from Chile to Spain with only four weeks notice presents real barriers to participation for delegates from the southern hemisphere.
Hotels in Madrid are already full. Last-minute flights are expensive. Visas can be difficult to obtain at short notice. This sudden decision is likely to shift the balance of power towards the wealthier countries of the global north, he added in a statement.
It is the second time that UN authorities have had to scramble to find a new meeting place. Brazil originally welcomed the gathering then backed out after rightwing president Jair Bolsonaro took office in January.
Reactions to Thunbergs social media plea for transport were predictably mixed, varying from multiple offers of support to suggestions she should return to school to learn about air travel.
Teresa Ribera, Spains ecological transition minister, said on Twitter on Saturday: Dear Greta, it would be great to have you here in Madrid. Youve made a long journey and help all of us to raise concern, open minds and enhance action. We would love to help you to cross the Atlantic back.