Greta Thunberg ‘hitchhiking’ back across Atlantic after climate summit moved from Chile to Spain at last minute

Joe Sommerlad
Teenage activist Greta Thunberg addresses the crowd while attending a climate action rally in Los Angeles, California, on 1 November 2019: AFP/Getty

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has been left stranded in the US following the relocation of the COP25 Climate Change Conference from Santiago, Chile, due to political unrest.

The Swede – who sailed from Plymouth to New York in August en route to the UN Climate Action Summit, a perilous but carbon-neutral journey undertaken on a solar-powered racing yacht – is now appealing on social media for a ride back across the Atlantic to mainland Europe, the summit having since been moved to Madrid, Spain, to avoid the violent demonstrations currently ongoing in South America.

“As #COP25 has officially been moved from Santiago to Madrid I’ll need some help,” Ms Thunberg tweeted from Los Angeles. “It turns out I’ve traveled half around the world, the wrong way:) Now I need to find a way to cross the Atlantic in November... If anyone could help me find transport I would be so grateful.”

Prior to her address at the UN on 23 September – where she berated world leaders for their collective failure to address the effects of global warming – Ms Thunberg met Barack Obama, appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and gave some equally forthright testimony to Congress, imploring senators to “listen to the scientists” when it comes to drawing up green legislation.

She has since crossed the Midwest by train and in an electric car borrowed from actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

This week, she met another Hollywood star with environmental credentials, Leonardo DiCaprio, who hailed her as “a leader of our time”, addressed another climate rally in Los Angeles and appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where she repeated her contention that meeting with US president Donald Trump would be “a waste of time”.


“I don’t understand why I would do that. I don’t see what I could tell him that he hasn’t already heard. And I just think it would be a waste of time, really,” she told the host, five weeks after Mr Trump sneered at her UN speech and a photo of her glowering at him from the sidelines went viral.

Another Hollywood legend and fellow activist, Jane Fonda, has meanwhile expressed concern for the teen’s welfare, given the intense media scrutiny she remains under. Ms Thunberg herself credits her diagnosis with Asperger’s syndrome for helping to shield her from the pressure and has rubbished suggestions her popularity is being exploited.

“I worry about her, yes, I do. I have not met her, I hope one day to meet her,” Ms Fonda told the BBC.

“She calls her Asperger’s her superpower, and I think that she’s right. She understands that if she’s attacked it’s because she’s making a difference, and that scares people.”

Greta Thunberg herself said so explicitly in the wake of Mr Trump’s attack on her, denouncing grown adults who “choose to spend their time mocking and threatening teenagers and children for promoting science”, arguing they “must simply feel so threatened”.

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