By Alyssa McMurtry
MADRID (AA) - After a 21-day transatlantic journey on a catamaran, 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg touched ground in Lisbon, Portugal on Tuesday as she makes her way to the COP25 UN climate summit in Madrid.
“This trip has been great, I needed some relaxing time to think everything through. Now I feel good, I feel energized,” Thunberg told reporters and a cheering group of supporters as she arrived.
“We will continue the fight in the UN summit to make sure that, within those walls, the voices of the people, the younger generation and especially the people of the global south are being heard.”
Thunberg will take an overnight train from Lisbon to Madrid and is expected to arrive Wednesday to attend the summit, which began on Monday and finishes on Dec. 13.
COP25 was originally planned to take place in Chile, but was changed to Madrid because of protests and instability in the South American nation. As a consequence, the Swedish activist had to make a last-minute journey back to Europe.
Thunberg refused to travel by airplane, and instead opted to hitch a ride with a family that was traveling the world on a carbon-neutral catamaran.
According to figures from German NGO Atmosfair, a return flight from New York to London generates nearly 2,200 pounds (one metric ton) of carbon dioxide per passenger. Eurostat estimates that the average carbon footprint per European is 16,000 pounds (7.2 metric tons) per year.
“We are facing a global emergency and we need to see it from a holistic point of view and do everything we can. We must work together to secure future living conditions for human kind, and fight not only for ourselves but our children and grandchildren and every single living being on earth,” she said.
Thunberg will be speaking at the COP25, which is the final UN Conference of Parties before 2020, when many nations must submit new climate action plans.
The UN states that at the moment, not enough is being done to meet the global community’s three climate goals: reducing emissions 45% by 2030, achieving a net zero carbon footprint and stabilizing global temperature rise at 1.5°C by the end of the century.
Thunberg said that she will continue to pressure leaders to make sure they prioritize fighting climate change.
“Everyone has to do everything they can to make sure they are on the right side of history,” she said.