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Greta Thunberg worried leaders using "insufficient force" over climate change

What I’m concerned about is whether the people in power will react and act with necessary force.

Charming little petal.

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Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has set sail for New York, heading for a UN summit on a zero-emissions yacht skippered by a member of Monaco’s ruling family.

The 16-year-old Swede, whose school strikes have inspired children across the world to protest against global warming, refuses to fly because of the carbon emissions caused by planes.

She has been offered a lift on the Malizia II racing yacht, along with her father, Svante, and a filmmaker to document the journey, that will allow her to attend the UN talks in September with a clear conscience.

The voyage will take about a fortnight, a daunting prospect for someone who has never sailed before this week, but Greta said she was willing to accept a bit of seasickness and a lack of comfort.

“I am one of the very few people in the world who actually can do this, and I think I should take that chance,” she in the English port of Plymouth late on Wednesday.

A few minutes later, she taxied out for the Malizia on an electric motorboat and stepped on to the yacht as a group of people on a passing sail boat applauded her.

The 18m yacht is skippered by Pierre Casiraghi, vice-president of the Monaco Yacht Club and a member of the principality’s ruling family, and German round-the-world sailor Boris Herrmann.

It can travel at speeds of about 35 knots but will be heading into the wind for much of the time so will be slower, and the captain wants a smooth ride.

“The objective is to arrive safe and sound in New York,” he said.

Ahead of the UN summit on September 23, Greta will take part in youth demonstrations before heading to Canada, Mexico and then to Chile for another UN conference in December. It is not clear how she will be travelling.

“I don’t know yet how I will get home,” she said.

Greta — who has spent hours on trains across Europe to spread her message — has become a figurehead for climate action with her stark warnings of catastrophe if the world does not act now to cut carbon emissions.

She has received criticism and abuse for her uncompromising attitude, but shows little concern at how she might be received among climate change deniers in the US. “I will just ignore them because I’m only acting and communicating the science, and if they don’t like that, what have I got to do with that?” she said.

“I’m not concerned about the reactions. What I’m concerned about is whether we will do something or not, whether the people in power will react and act with necessary force.”