Climate activist Greta Thunberg reaches Lisbon on way to Madrid summit

December 3, 2019

By Victoria Waldersee

LISBON (Reuters) – Climate activist Greta Thunberg arrived in Lisbon on Tuesday after crossing the Atlantic from New York aboard a catamaran ahead of her appearance at a summit in Madrid to demand urgent action on global warming.

The boat, La Vagabonde, carried the Swedish campaigner, who refuses to travel by plane, across the ocean so she could attend the COP25 climate summit in Madrid. She will spend the day holding meetings with Portuguese climate activists and resting before her departure for Madrid.

More than 150 supporters turned out to greet Thunberg as she came ashore. Among them was the leader of Portugal’s People Animals Nature party, Andre Silva, who praised Thunberg for her role in “tackling the greatest crisis of our times”.

“She is prioritizing an increasingly urgent issue in a way politicians just aren’t,” he told Reuters.

Her arrival in Lisbon coincides with the release of a bleak report by the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization, which warns that the past decade is almost certain to be the hottest yet recorded.

Portugal’s environment minister Matos Fernandes thanked Greta for her activism in a letter last Thursday, having already departed for COP25.

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said it was a “great pleasure” to have her in Lisbon but did not feel it was his place to personally greet the activist.

Thunberg missed last Friday’s climate strike as heavy winds delayed her arrival in Lisbon but she is due to join thousands of activists marching in Madrid on Friday afternoon on the fringes of the COP25.

The conference kicked off on Monday with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres warning that the planet had reached a “point of no return”.

Top priorities include establishing a common time frame for countries to implement their national climate commitment plans, and resolving the issue of international carbon markets. That issue is the only one from the Paris rule book endorsed in 2015 which delegates failed to agree at last year’s COP24 in Poland.

(Reporting by Victoria Waldersee, Nathan Allen; Editing by James Mackenzie and Gareth Jones)

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