British Columbia

Greta Thunberg says she didn't know about Victoria invite, but ferry emissions not an issue

Climate change activist Greta Thunberg is disputing stories about an invitation to speak to British Columbia's provincial legislature, saying she wasn't aware of the invite and "definitely" didn't turn it down because of concern over ferry emissions.

Thunberg confirms visit to Vancouver Friday for a climate strike in the city's downtown core

Activist Greta Thunberg addresses the crowd at the end of Friday's climate march in Montreal. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Climate change activist Greta Thunberg is disputing stories about an invitation to speak to British Columbia's provincial legislature, saying she wasn't aware of the invite and "definitely" didn't turn it down because of concern over ferry emissions.

On Tuesday, B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver said he extended an invitation to visit Victoria to the 16-year-old Swede. 

But rumours quickly spread through Victoria's political circles that Thunberg wouldn't be coming to Victoria because there's no way to get there without burning fossil fuels either by ferry or flight.

Mayor Lisa Helps said that although she hadn't heard from Thunberg directly, one of her councillors learned the news from the climate activist's team.

Thunberg dismissed the rumours in a tweet on Tuesday evening, writing that she didn't know about the invitation and "have definitely not declined it because of 'emissions' from the public transport ferry."

Thunberg eschewed flights to travel across the Atlantic Ocean in a zero-emission sailboat to attend the UN Climate Action Summit in September. She has travelled in an electric Tesla in her trips across North America. 

Greta Thunberg waves from the Malizia II in Plymouth, England, before her departure on Aug. 14. She crossed the Atlantic on a zero-emissions sailboat to attend the UN climate summit in New York in September. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/The Associated Press)

Earlier Tuesday, some Vancouver Islanders came up with creative solutions for bringing Thunberg to Victoria. Helps said Olympic rower Adam Kreek offered to row Thunberg to Vancouver Island and back again.

While BC Ferries' long-term plan is to have the company's entire fleet powered by electricity, most of the fleet currently runs on diesel fuel. 

It announced its first wave of hybrid electric vessels in September, with the first two expected to be in service by 2020.

Climate rally planned in Vancouver

Thunberg also confirmed Tuesday that she will be joining a climate strike outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Friday.

Sustainabiliteens, a group of teenagers that has organized previous climate strikes in Vancouver, says youth are pushing for cross-party collaboration to tackle the climate crisis from a newly elected minority federal government.

Clarifications

  • A previous version of this story said there were reports Thunberg may not travel to Victoria out of concerns about burning fossil fuels. The story has been updated to include Thunberg's denial of these reports.
    Oct 22, 2019 10:00 PM PT

With files from the Canadian Press

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