Greta Thunberg arrived in New York on Wednesday, August 28, after sailing across the Atlantic on a zero-emissions yacht. The teenage activist from Sweden sailed from Plymouth in the UK to the US, to partake in a United Nations climate summit in New York. Ms Thunberg caught the world’s attention earlier this year when her solitary climate protest in Sweden inspired thousands of young people to walk out of schools. An expert on microplastic pollution has now told Express.co.uk how the teenager has helped sound the alarm on the climate crisis.
According to Dr Andrew Mayes from the School of Chemistry at the University of East Anglia, more and more people are awakening to the dangers of climate change.
He said: “I think it’s caught the mood of the moment.
“You know, the fact that Greta Thunberg has mobilised an entire generation of school kids to start thinking about global environmental issues and the fact that we only have one planet. It’s their future.
“For all these rich men in suits sitting around and squandering, they can be as smug as they like about the fact that these problems don’t exist, because they will be dead before the planet falls over.
“But our children and our children’s children might not be, so somebody has to get a grip.”
Dr Mayes said: “I think there is a genuine desire to do the right thing and everybody does their little bit and contribute to reducing their plastic waste that goes into the environment.
“But we still need to do much more and I think we will do much more.”
Earlier this year, Ms Thunberg was nominated for a Nobel peace prize for her role in inspiring climate protests across more than 105 countries.
Her work has further inspired another wave of protests to take place on September 20 this year.
The scientific consensus on climate change is manmade emissions of greenhouses gases since the industrial revolution have accelerated the planet’s warming.
On September 25, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will release its updated report on the state of the climate.
In 2018, IPCC the report warned just 2.7F (1.5C) of global warming will have a disastrous effect on the planet.
According to US space agency NASA, global temperatures have risen by 1.9F degrees since 1880.
The Arctic ice minimum is also dropping by 12.8 percent per decade and the ice sheets are losing 413 gigatonnes of volume per year.
Ms Thunberg will appear at the UN climate summit on September 23 and will then travel to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Chile in December.
The teenager, who just completed her zero-emissions voyage across the Atlantic, said: “It’s insane that a 16-year-old has to cross the Atlantic in order to take a stand, but that’s how it is. It feels like we are at a breaking point.
“Leaders know that more eyes are on them, much more pressure is on them, that they have to do something, they have to come up with some sort of solution. I want a concrete plan, not just nice words.”