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UN Climate Change summit to earn Madrid €200m – and Greta seeks 'green' transport
By thinkSPAIN Team Thu, Nov 7, 2019
A UNITED Nations' Climate Change Summit due to be held in Chile but cancelled as a result of mass protests across the nation will take place in Madrid – it's official.
As reported on Friday, Spanish president Pedro Sánchez offered his capital city as a substitute, and it has now been confirmed that the Summit will take place at Madrid's huge exhibition centre, the IFEMA, which also plays host every January to one of the world's biggest tourism trade fairs, FITUR, and was also the venue for the Pink Floyd exhibition from May 10 to October 27 this year.
The COP25 Summit will host around 25,000 people, including international leaders, and Madrid now has the task of organising it in record time since it will be held between December 2 and 13.
Deputy regional president and spokesman Ignacio Aguado forecast the event will bring a cash injection of around €200 million to Madrid's economy, making it welcome news for 'thousands of companies'.
Regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso hopes as many as possible of the 25,000 will find the time to indulge in a bit of tourism, experiencing Madrid's cuisine, culture and heritage, including the city's 'Big Three' art museums, the El Prado, Thyssen-Bornemizsa and Reina Sofía – and also the attractions of as many as possible of the Greater Madrid region's 179 towns.
She says she intends to be there in order to present Madrid's plans for environmental protection and battling climate change.
As yet, the world's greatest ambassador for the war on climate change, Swedish sixth-former Greta Thunberg, has not formally responded to Pedro Sánchez's invitation for her to speak at the Summit as she did at the earlier one in New York in September.
But as she is currently in the USA, she has requested help in crossing the Atlantic again to be able to go to the meeting in Madrid.
Greta famously boycotts air travel, as she says pollution caused by planes accelerates climate change, meaning she travelled from Sweden to New York on a yacht powered entirely by solar and wind energy, which took her two weeks.
“As the COP25 has officially been moved from Santiago to Madrid, I'll need some help,” the schoolgirl writes on Twitter.
“It turns out I've travelled half[way] around the world, the wrong way :) Now I need to find a way to cross the Atlantic in November...If anyone could help me find transport I would be so grateful.”
Last September, then age 15, Greta started her career as a climate change activist by staging one-girl protests outside her national Parliament building in Stockholm, and this swiftly led onto the Fridays for Future movement, in which schoolchildren and young adults took to the streets every Friday to protest over global politicians' failure to tackle the issue which, they said, would affect their own generation far more than it would those of the world leaders who have not been taking sufficient action.
Outgoing European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has admitted that although he agrees with their sentiments and is full of praise for young people attempting to make a real difference, he believes many of the solutions proposed by Greta's movement are 'fantastical' since 'classic industry is still necessary for Europe'.
Greta recently received the Alternative Nobel Prize from the Swedish foundation Right Livelihood Award, and has been nominated for a 2019 Nobel Peace Prize – although this ended up going to Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed for his initiative in attempting to resolve border conflict between his own country and Eritrea.
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