Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez might be in full electoral flow with the country going to the polls next weekend, on Sunday 10 November, but that hasn’t stopped him approving of the invitation issued by Teresa Ribera, Minister for Ecological Transition, to teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg. The Government department is new, instituted only last year, and has been set up, says the Instituto Internacional de Derecho y Medio Ambiente, to guarantee a sustainable development and an ecological transition for future generations who will have to face the consequences of governmental measures taken today: the IIDMA says that political support for fossil fuels will end, with climate change policies being prioritised by the Government, and Ribera’s invitation can clearly be seen in this context.
The minister’s invitation to Thunberg is in connection with the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) which is being held in Madrid between 2 and 13 December. It was tabled to be held in Chile after the original plans for it to be held in Brazil were cancelled by Jair Bolsonaro, but social unrest in Chile has forced the cancellation of the replacement plans. Spain has now stepped into the breach, earning gratitude specifically from the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Amina J Mohammed, who said that the move, “formulated in just days, is a tremendous demonstration of solidarity & urgent leadership needed for climate solutions”.
Now, Thunberg herself might attend, with Ribera telling her that she’s “made a long journey and help all of us to raise concern, open minds and enhance action. We would love to help you to cross the Atlantic back. Willing to get in contact to make it possible.” An extra possibility is that the teenager might even arrive in some style, replacing her eco-yacht across the Atlantic with the Spanish presidential plane, Falcon, whose coordinators have told the minister that they’ve already been in touch with Thunberg to offer their services and are awaiting an answer. Spain’s looking to the future, and it’s green.