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The crew 'uniting behind the science' on the Malizia II. Twitter

Greta Thunberg’s sailing trip will require six flights

The crossing of the Atlantic undertaken by the young climate activist Greta Thunberg has ultimately not been so "eco-friendly". On the contrary...

Published: August 17, 2019, 10:58 am

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    It is a paradox to which Greta Thunberg, very critical of the ecological consequences of flying, should be happy to respond. The young Swedish activist, who is due to attend a climate summit in New York on September 23, has chosen to go there by crossing the Atlantic Ocean aboard a carbon sailboat deemed very ecological – although sponsored by brands which are a little less eco-friendly.

    The organisation of the journey at sea will require a total of six transatlantic flights, reported the German newspaper Die Tageszeitung. If Greta Thunberg had flown with her only father, the environmental cost would have been much lower.

    And for good reason: according to the newspaper, five employees, who have been tasked with bringing the boat back to Europe, will have to fly to the other side of the Atlantic.

    The German skipper accompanying Greta Thunberg, Boris Herrmann, will also return by air to the Old Continent. “Of course, they fly there, there is no choice,” said Andreas Kling, spokesman for the skipper.

    The father of the activist, Svante Thunberg, the Monegasque founder of the Malizia team who owns the sailboat, Pierre Casiraghi, and a filmmaker are also on board the yacht.

    Pierre Casiraghi, a shareholder in a helicopter company, is not really famous for his commitment to the environment. And the yacht on which Greta Thunberg is travelling, is sponsored by the Monaco Yacht Club, BMW and a Swiss financial group EFG, linked to several tax havens.

    The environmental activist, posing in antifa T-shirt, embarked on Wednesday morning on her voyage to New York. Following a French article in Valeurs Actuelles about Thunberg’s sponsors, reprinted by the Swedish press, she responded saying in particular that “all the logos of the commercial sponsors have been removed”.

    According to the German media, and according to the atmospheric emissions calculator of the German environmental NGO Atmosfair, a Hamburg-New York flight would generate 1 800 kg of CO2.

    That is a carbon footprint far too important in terms of efforts to limit global warming to two degrees. The calculation is quite simple: it would have been less damaging for the planet to see Greta Thunberg travel to New York by plane rather than move a whole group through this sailing trip.

    The Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet revealed how the 16-year-old Swede’s name appears to have been exploited for money successfully.

    Other fervent defenders of the environment, the British Duke of Sussex and his wife, have also been criticized for their week of vacation in Ibiza where they went in a private jet.

    Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, according to Spanish media, quoted by the British daily the Daily Mail, stayed on the island from August 6 to 12, just after the speech of Prince Harry at Google Camp in Sicily, where he preached about climate change.

    The private jet of the couple emitted six times more carbon monoxide per person than it would have done with a commercial flight from London. According to the British media, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, claimed they were able to leave the United Kingdom and land in Spain without anyone knowing it because they took a private jet. But it seems as if some people knew about their vacation anyway.

    The spokesperson of the NGO Friends of the Earth was not amused by the thoughtless “private” trip: “The Duke of Sussex speaks excessively well about the environment, with a moving vocabulary, and after he flies on vacation in a private jet to a European destination”. According to him, the couple should have “taken a train and a boat and that would have been an opportunity to give the example”.

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