Thunberg in transport plea as UN climate meeting relocated from Chile to Madrid

The United Nations global climate meeting next month will take place in Madrid after previous host Chile cancelled at short notice, officials said.

UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa said representatives of the body that organises the annual conference had accepted Spain's offer to host it in the country's capital on December 2-13.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera had announced on Wednesday that he was cancelling plans to host the meeting, as well as a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders, to focus on restoring security in his country following weeks of protests in which at least a dozen people have died.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's office offered to step in at short notice on Thursday, sending delegates from around the world scrambling to change their travel plans.

Among those who were planning to attend the conference in Chile was Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, whose climate protests have helped inspire tens of thousands of mostly young people to take to the streets demanding greater efforts from world leaders.

The teenager made a high-profile crossing from England to New York by boat earlier this year and planned to travel overland to Santiago to speak at the meeting.

Ms Thunberg refuses to fly because of aviation's big carbon footprint.

After the move to Madrid was confirmed on Friday, Ms Thunberg appealed for help.

"It turns out I've travelled half around the world, the wrong way," she tweeted.

"Now I need to find a way to cross the Atlantic in November...," she added.

"If anyone could help me find transport I would be so grateful."

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Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg looks on during a march and rally at the Youth Climate Strike in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 1, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake??
Vista este viernes de un mural con la cara de la activista sueca contra la crisis climática Greta Thunberg, que está siendo pintado por el artista argentino Andrés "Cobre" Iglesias en la pared de un edificio en el centro de San Francisco (California, EE.UU.). EFE/Marc Arcas
Greta Thunberg pictures used to shame Israeli workers for using plastic
Andres Petreselli paints a mural on the side of a building depicting Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg is one of the best-known members of Generation Z (AFP Photo/Frederic J. BROWN)
Graças a Greta Thunberg, 'greve do clima' é o termo do ano do dicionário Collins
Teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg is one of the best-known members of Generation Z (AFP Photo/Frederic J. BROWN)
Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg attends a news conference at the SMILE meeting (Summer Meeting In Lausanne Europe), with other young climate strike activists from 37 European countries of the FridaysforFuture movement in Lausanne, Switzerland, August 5, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Pas de bateau pour rentrer en Europe… Greta Thunberg (et les autres) face aux limites du « flygskam », la honte de prendre l’avion

Leonardo DiCaprio a partagé sur son compte Instagram une photo de sa rencontre avec Greta Thunberg, en ne tarissant pas d’éloges sur la militante suédoise

Photo credit: twitter.com/Schwarzenegger
"Fridays for Future" activist Greta Thunberg leaves after speaking at the Senate in Rome, Italy April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
Yungblud: Greta Thunberg is the Karl Marx of our generation
16-year-old Swedish Climate activist Greta Thunberg attends the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Yana Paskova
16-year-old Swedish Climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks at the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 23, 2019.
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg appears at the Youth Climate Summit at United Nations HQ in the Manhattan borough of New York, New York, U.S., September 21, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres shakes hands with Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg at the Youth Climate Summit at United Nations Headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York, New York, U.S., September 21, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Sixteen year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks to a large crowd of demonstrators at the Global Climate Strike in lower Manhattan in New York, U.S., September 20, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Sixteen year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks to a large crowd of demonstrators at the Global Climate Strike in lower Manhattan in New York, U.S., September 20, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Sixteen year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg departs after attending a demonstration at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., September 18, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Swedish 16-year-old youth climate activist Greta Thunberg sits on the side amongst other youth climate activists at a news conference about the Green New Deal hosted by U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) on the Northeast lawn in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., September 17, 2019. REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Swedish activist Greta Thunberg participates in a youth climate change protest in front of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S.,September 6, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Swedish 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg completes her trans-Atlantic crossing in order to attend a United Nations summit on climate change in New York, U.S., August 28, 2019. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Swedish 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg sails on the Malizia II racing yacht in New York Harbor as she nears the completion of her trans-Atlantic crossing in order to attend a United Nations summit on climate change in New York, U.S., August 28, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Swedish 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg sails on the Malizia II racing yacht in New York Harbor as she nears the completion of her trans-Atlantic crossing in order to attend a United Nations summit on climate change in New York, U.S., August 28, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg holding signage reading "School strike for climate" sits aboard Team Malizia yacht that will transport Thunberg across the Atlantic for the UN Climate Action Conference in this recent undated photo released August 16, 2019. Team Malizia/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT.
Greta Thunberg, Swedish "Fridays for Future" climate activist, stands next to activists and a masked inhabitant of an illegal tree house in the Hambach Forest that is supposed to be chopped away for the nearby open-cast brown coal minr of German utility RWE, west of Cologne, Germany, August 10, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
Greta Thunberg, Swedish "Fridays for Future" climate activist, stands next to climbing equipment that hangs from an illegal tree house in the Hambach Forest that is supposed to be chopped away for the nearby open-cast brown coal mine of German utility RWE, west of Cologne, Germany, August 10, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, Adelaide Charlier and Alicia Arquetoux, French activists from the Youth for Climate movement, attend the questions to the government session at the National Assembly in Paris, France, July 23, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg leaves after a debate with French parliament members at the National Assembly in Paris, France, July 23, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg attends "Fridays for Future" protest, claiming for urgent measures to combat climate change, in Berlin, Germany, July 19, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg attends "Fridays for Future" protest, claiming for urgent measures to combat climate change, in Berlin, Germany, July 19, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
Revellers walk past a Greta Thunberg mural at Glastonbury Festival at Worthy farm in Somerset, Britain June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Greta Thunberg attends a demonstration calling for action on climate change, during the "Fridays for Future" school strike in Vienna, Austria May 31, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger reacts next to Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen during the R20 Austrian World Summit in Vienna, Austria, May 28, 2019. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg looks on next to the former leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party Ed Miliband at the House of Commons as guest of Caroline Lucas, in London, Britain April 23, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg joins Italian students to demand action on climate change, in Piazza del Popolo, Rome, Italy April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Yara Nardi
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg speaks to the media, as she joins Italian students to demand action on climate change, in Piazza del Popolo, Rome, Italy April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Yara Nardi
Climate activist Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg meets Pope Francis during the weekly audience at Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, April 17, 2019. Vatican Media/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg cries at the end of her a speech to the environment committee of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler
Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg leads student walk out in NC, says our planet’s future is at risk
Greta Thunberg speaks at a youth climate in Charlotte, N.C., on Friday. (Yahoo News Video)
NGOs report fourfold increases in investments in carbon-reducing projects in developing countries. Growing concern about the climate crisis and the “Greta Thunberg effect” are driving huge increases in individuals and businesses choosing to offset their emissions by investing in carbon-reducing projects in developing countries. NGOs and organisations involved in carbon offsetting have seen as much as a fourfold increase in investment from people who want to try to mitigate their carbon footprints. Agencies who work with large corporations have also seen a spike in investment in carbon offsetting over the last 18 months. ClimateCare, a company that provides programmes to help organisations offset residual carbon emissions, has seen the amount of carbon offset increase from about 2m tonnes to 20m tonnes in that time, according to its chief executive, Edward Hanrahan. Smaller organisations have also reported massive spikes in offsetting. Caroline Pomeroy, the director of the NGO Climate Stewards, which offsets emissions for individuals and small businesses, said income from individuals offsetting had increased by 156% year on year, and that there had been an 80% increase in income from businesses and charities offsetting. Offsetting means calculating emissions and then purchasing equivalent “credits” from projects that prevent or remove the emissions of an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases elsewhere. Carbon offsetting has been controversial, with some critics saying it allows big polluters and individuals to buy carbon credits in exchange for a clean conscience while continuing to fly, drive and use fossil fuels. But in the past 10 years, highly regulated global carbon and renewable energy markets have been created and participating companies and NGOs are theoretically held to international standards by independent verifiers. The organisation Gold Standard was set up by the environment group WWF and other NGOs to ensure the integrity of projects that reduced carbon emissions and to ensure they contribute to sustainable development. Sarah Leugers, its communications director, said: “Everyone should be looking to reduce their emissions as much as possible first, but for most of us it is impossible at this time to reduce them to zero, so taking accountability and financing the reduction in emissions somewhere else in the world is a way to accelerate the path to a low carbon economy.” Hanrahan said large organisations were being driven to be responsible for not only the emissions that they created as a company, but also so-called “Scope 3 emissions” from the use of their products, by a combination of consumer pressure and governments pushing for corporations to become more accountable for their impact on the climate. Leugers said transformative projects were those that improved cooking facilities in the developing world, for example by providing biogas stoves and projects that improved access to clean water, thus reducing greenhouse gases from burning firewood to boil water. “These are life-changing for people in the developing world and have real impact on reducing carbon emissions,” she said. Gold Standard has reported a fourfold increase in income from individuals and small businesses paying for carbon offsets through its platform. “People are willing to take action and are looking for ways to take action. We see it as a way that someone can feel empowered and reduce their carbon footprint,” said Leugers. Climate Stewards funds a project in Nepal paid for by the purchase of carbon offsets, where 240 fuel-efficient cooking stoves have been built for remote communities. Each stove saves 6.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year per household and the stoves last for about 10 years. The price for a tonne of CO2 is not set globally, and varies between offset suppliers on the voluntary market. The US Environmental Protection Agency in 2015 assessed that for every tonne of CO2emitted into the atmosphere, we sacrifice between $11 and $212 in environmental degradation and negative social impacts. David Hughes, the chair of Climate Stewards, said: “This year, the whole business of carbon offsetting has suddenly taken off. It has been so gratifying to see a lot of individuals choosing to offset over the last 12 months – the numbers have more than doubled. “We are seeing the Greta effect, the impact of Extinction Rebellion, the impact of the words of David Attenborough, the school strikes, all of these coming together.” But Hanrahan said while voluntary carbon mitigation and individual actions were laudable, ClimateCare was clear in its call for mandatory carbon pricing and mitigation for large corporations and industries like aviation. “Our position is that this should not be an optional or voluntary thing. Expecting individuals to be able to make fully informed decisions about such a specialist, complex area is madness,” he said. “What we want is a scenario where corporates are mandated to pay a price on carbon that reflects the societal cost of dealing with climate change and carbon emissions, and to pay for mitigating their emissions.” Case study Flying to and from Malaysia to visit his family each year was causing increasing concern to Shanon Shah, a freelance writer from London. Through his partner, an Anglican priest, he was introduced to Climate Stewards, and began to see a way in which he could compensate for his carbon footprint. “But then I thought, it isn’t enough to offset the flights that I am going to take in the future, as I take them. I sat down and tried to remember all the flights I had ever taken in my life. “And bit by bit I accounted for my flying in the past. Every few weeks when I got a paycheck I offset a few of the past flights that I had made over a particular period. Over the course of six or seven months, I managed to offset all the flights I can ever remember taking. That was around 35 flights.” Shah is continuing his mission to reduce and mitigate his own emissions. “From now on, every time I book a flight I offset it.” But Shah thinks the airline industry itself has to be made accountable for its emissions. Emissions from international aviation are not included in national inventories of their emissions, and under the Kyoto protocol – something there is growing pressure to change – aviation is not subject to VAT or fuel tax. “It has excluded itself from all these environmental protocols, and there should be more pressure to make their emissions accountable,” said Shah. “But in the meantime I think that this is something I can do as an individual.” In Stoke-on-Trent, Daniel Charlesworth, 24, who works for the police, has made a similar decision. He has chosen to offset all his car travel. “I have been researching electric cars for months, but there is a lot of life left in my car and I cannot afford an equivalent electric car,” he said. “So I have begun offsetting my journeys each month and set up a direct debit, I think it amounts to about £7 per month. “I know that even if you have thousands and thousands of individuals like me doing the same it is not going to make a huge difference, but I feel I have a personal responsibility to be accountable for my emissions. And if what I am doing leads others to do it as well, it can help to drive change.”
ROME, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 27: People take part in the climate march 'Fridays for Future, the Global Climate Strike for the planet, launched by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg who has become a symbol of the fight against climate change, to demand for urgent measures and concrete action to combat climate change, global warming on September 27, 2019 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Stefano Montesi - Corbis/ Getty Images)
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, 16, arrives in the US after a 15-day journey crossing the Atlantic in the Malizia II, a zero-carbon yacht, on August 28, 2019 in New York. - "Land!! The lights of Long Island and New York City ahead," she tweeted early Wednesday. She later wrote on Twitter that her yacht had anchored off the entertainment district of Coney Island in Brooklyn to clear customs and immigration. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)
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Ms Thunberg voiced regret about not being able to visit Central and South America as planned, saying she had been looking forward to doing so.

"But this is of course not about me, my experiences or where I wish to travel. We're in a climate and ecological emergency," she said.

It was not immediately clear on what scale the conference will be held in Madrid.

Last year's climate conference in Katowice, Poland, was attended by more than 20,000 people.

The 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25) is meant to work out some of the remaining unresolved issues on the rules that countries have to follow in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The meetings have also become a venue for countries to announce new initiatives to respond to global warming.

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