European star climate activist Greta Thunberg is coming to America in zero-emission style

Greta Thunberg is coming to America
(Image credit: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images)

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish student whose school-skipping protests to highlight the existential need for big action on climate change have inspired tens of thousands of European teens to join her "school strikes," is coming to spread her message to the U.S., she said Monday. Thunberg will attend United Nations climate summits in New York in September and Chile in December, but she had struggled for months to come up with an ecologically appropriate form of travel.

Airplanes are big polluters but so are cruise ships, and smaller boats are dangerous to sail through August's active hurricane-prone Atlantic waters. "Taking a boat to North America is basically impossible," she told The Associated Press, except aboard the high-speed racing yacht she will travel on, accompanied by a filmmaker, her father, Svante, and Pierre Casiraghi, the grandson of the late Grace Kelly and Monaco's Prince Rainier III. The 60-foot yacht, Malizia II, runs on solar panels and underwater turbines to generate zero carbon emissions. "I haven't experienced anything like this before," Thunberg told AP, giggling. "I think this will be a trip to remember."

Thunberg said she plans to appear at the U.N. and take part in several climate protest in New York, but she thinks meeting President Trump would be "just a waste of time" because "I have nothing to say to him." Trump "obviously doesn't listen to the science and the scientists," she reasoned. "So why should I, a child with no proper education, be able to convince him?"

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.