Teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg will today set sail across the Atlantic to attend UN summits on global warming in New York and Chile.
The 16-year-old will make the trip in a high-tech racing yacht in a bid to avoid planes and cruise ships and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Miss Thunberg sparked a global movement of young people demanding action against climate change earlier this year after she went on strike from school for the cause.
The Swedish teenager will make her two-week journey in the 60ft Malizia II, which is fitted with solar panels and underwater turbines to generate zero-carbon electricity on board.
Columnist Brendan O’Neill has slated the teenager’s transatlantic crossing as a stunt, saying “no one can afford to do what she’s doing”.
He told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “I think Greta Thunberg’s journey across the Atlantic is the longest, most expensive, most ridiculous virtue signal of recent times.
“No one can afford the time of spending two weeks on the Atlantic Ocean and no one can afford the tens of thousands of pounds it would cost to do so.”
However environmental campaigner Dr Keith Baker praised the teenager, arguing: “I think she’s making an important point and if that inspires particularly younger people to really think about the way they’re travelling then that’s fantastic.”
After speaking at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York this September, Miss Thunberg will take a sabbatical year from school to visit Canada and Mexico and attend the UN climate conference in Santiago, Chile, in December - travelling entirely by train and bus.