Greta Thunberg arrives in Lisbon by yacht from US

Campaigning Swedish teenager set to attend UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has arrived by yacht in the port of Lisbon after a three-week voyage across the Atlantic Ocean from the US.

The Swedish teenager arrived in the Portuguese capital on Tuesday, before heading to Spain to attend the UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid.

Her arrival coincided with a new scientific report saying there is mounting evidence that the world is getting ever hotter.

Greta hitched a renewable-energy ride from the US, joining an Australian family on their catamaran.

The white yacht sailed slowly up the River Tagus under blue skies and a stiff breeze. Greta’s father Svante was also on the boat as it approached the Lisbon quayside.

Chile's environment minister Carolina Schmidt, saluted Greta's role speaking out about the threat of climate change.

“She has been a leader that has been able to move and open hearts for many young people and many people all over the world,” Ms Schmidt said at the summit in Madrid.

“We need that tremendous force in order to increase climate action.”

Greta’s representatives said they could not confirm when she would travel on to the Spanish capital, 500km to the east.

She wanted a low-carbon form of transport to get to the climate meeting, which was switched at short notice to Spain from Chile due to unrest there.

The yacht, named La Vagabonde, leaves little or no carbon footprint when its sails are up, using solar panels and hydro-generators for electricity.

Temperature record

Meanwhile, a report by the UN weather agency released on the sidelines of the climate talks found that the current decade is likely to set a new 10-year temperature record.

Preliminary temperature measurements show that the years from 2015 to 2019 and from 2010 to 2019 "are, respectively, almost certain to be the warmest five-year period and decade on record", the World Meteorological Organisation said.

“Since the 1980s, each successive decade has been warmer than the last,” the agency added.

While full-year figures are not released until March, 2019 is also expected to be the second or third warmest year since measurements began, with 2016 still holding the record, it said.

This year was hotter than average in most parts of the world, including the Arctic. "In contrast a large area of North America has been colder than the recent average," the UN said.

The World Meteorological Organisation’s annual report, which brings together data from numerous national weather agencies and research organisations, also highlighted the impacts of climate change including declining sea ice and rising sea levels, which reached their highest level this year since high-precision measurements began in 1993. – PA