The BBC reports today that Greta Thunberg will travel to some climate conferences by sail.
Guest post by Mike Jonas
Greta Thunberg to sail Atlantic for climate conferences
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has accepted a ride across the Atlantic by boat to attend two key climate conferences.
The teenager will make the journey aboard the Malizia II, a high-speed 18-metre (60ft) yacht built to race around the globe.
“We’ll be sailing across the Atlantic Ocean from the UK to New York in mid August,” she tweeted.
Thunberg refuses to fly because of the environmental impact of air travel.
In a Facebook post, Team Malizia said they were “honoured to sail Greta Thunberg emission free across the Atlantic”.
Is Greta Thunberg the first climate activist prepared to abide by their convictions and use “carbon-free” travel? I think she is.
My personal opinion is that Greta should be congratulated for her integrity (just as the others should be condemned for their hypocrisy).
But maybe, just maybe, this story will drive home to people just how ridiculous the whole “carbon-free” idea is.
Greta is fortunate enough to be invited to visit the other side of the Atlantic in a fast racing yacht, because she is famous. That’s the positive part of the story. But let’s go through just a few of the issues arising from this story:
1. It will take a very long time compared with flying, especially if you aren’t famous. At Malizia II’s trans-Atlantic racing speed of 14.5 knots (https://www.yacht-club-monaco.mc/en/route-du-rhum-malizia-ii-finished-5th/), an Atlantic crossing takes a fortnight. Time is money to most people, and especially to businesses.
Want to use your 4-week annual leave or the children’s school holiday to visit relatives on the other side of the Atlantic? Forget it.
2. The Atlantic, just like any large body of water, has severe storms. Even professional competitors in ocean races get sea-sick.
“It’s a feeling that you just want to jump off the side of the boat and end it all. It’s miserable, you don’t feel like doing anything, you get lethargic and you get tired. You loose[sic] interest in anything except in how manky you feel and pretty much each time you move, or change your environment, you end up throwing up.”.
(There’s lots more like that). Greta will be in an ocean racer, and even without a storm I doubt she will enjoy it. What will trans-ocean travel be like in our future “carbon-free” world?
There really isn’t any point in going on with this – the whole “carbon-free” idea is utterly impractical. In a “carbon-free” world, they are going to have to have all nuclear-powered ships and planes, or the whole world just descends into poverty. How long did they say we had left to go “carbon-free”?
So, while I congratulate Greta on her high ethical standards, maybe be best thing that can come out of this journey is the final realisation that the whole “carbon-free” thing is an exercise in absurdly expensive futility. The cost of going “carbon-free” – if it is actually possible – is clearly many orders of magnitude higher than just adapting to what the climate may or may not do. And bear in mind that China and India and others will do more than enough to guarantee that we will have to adapt to that anyway.
I hope that Greta’s greatest achievement will be getting the message through to the media and the politicians that they have been conned.