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Why climate change activist Greta Thunberg is in Plymouth

Greta Thunberg. Credit: Anders Hellberg

World-renowned climate change activist Greta Thunberg is in Plymouth preparing to sail across the Atlantic.

The 16-year-old, who shot to fame last year after protesting outside the Swedish Parliament, is heading to New York for the UN Action Climate summit in September.

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

The yacht Greta will sail from Plymouth to New York on. Credit: Andreas Lindlahr

She wanted to attend the summit 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 – until she was offered a place on Malizia II.

Team Malizia, skippered by Pierre Casiraghi and Boris Herrmann, will sail Greta and her father Svante Thunberg in the boat - which has been fitted with solar panels and underwater turbines to allow for a zero-carbon, trans-Atlantic voyage.

The science is clear. We must start bending the emissions curve steeply downwards no later than 2020, if we still are to have a chance of staying below a 1, 5 degrees of global temperature rise.

We still have a window of time when things are in our own hands. But that window is closing fast. That is why I have decided to make this trip now.

– Greta Thunberg

Videos and images posted by Team Malizia on its official Facebook page show Greta on-board the yacht ahead of its expected departure on Wednesday (August 13).

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Skipper Boris praised the 16-year-old for having the courage to make the trip in such fashion.

Greta is amazingly courageous to be standing up against ignorance and injustice regarding the climate crisis. I am not surprised that she considers this trip as something perfectly achievable for her – taking into account her courage in speaking up in a loud and clear way even in front of the most powerful people.

– Boris Herrmann, skipper

Tudor Evans, leader of Plymouth City Council, described it as an “honour” to host Greta before her trip.