Thunberg snubs $52,000 environmental prize

Thunberg snubs $52,000 environmental prize

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has declined an environmental prize, saying, “the climate movement does not need any more prizes”. 

Two climate activists spoke for Thunberg at an awards ceremony in Stockholm for the Nordic Council’s prizes, giving their thanks on behalf of the group. Thunberg, 16, is in California.

Sofia and Isabella Axelsson read out Thunberg’s remarks: “What we need is for our rulers and politicians to listen to the research.”

The Nordic Council hands out annual prizes for literature, youth literature, film, music and the environment for about US$52,000.

Of the Nordic countries who sought to grant the award, Thunberg said: “There is no lack of bragging about [the region’s environmental progress]. There is no lack of beautiful words. 

“But when it comes to our actual emissions and our ecological footprints per capita – if we include our consumption, our imports as well as aviation and shipping – then it’s a whole other story.” 

Swedes lived as if “we had about four planets”, she said. The gap between the action scientists say is needed to limit the increase in temperature and what Nordic politicians had pledged to do was “gigantic”, the Swedish teen added.

The Paris climate agreement, signed by all the Nordic states, calls on wealthy states to lead by example.

“We belong to the countries that have the possibility to do the most. And yet our countries still basically do nothing,” Thunberg said. 

She has been associated with other awards. 

Three Norwegian suggested Thunberg for the Nobel Peace Prize this year because of the “massive movement Greta has set in motion is a very important peace contribution”. 

Thunberg last year declined the Children’s Climate Prize, which is awarded by a Swedish electricity firm because many the finalists were required to fly to Stockholm for the ceremony.

Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic Ocean for two weeks on a zero-emissions boat to reach New York for the UN climate conference.

“We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and yet all you can talk about is money. You are failing us,” Thunberg said.

She won the 2019 Right Livelihood Award “for inspiring and amplifying political demands for urgent climate action reflecting scientific facts”. 

In May, she was pictured on the cover of Time magazine, which dubbed her a “next generation leader”. 



Single-use plastic drinks bottles have to be more heavily taxed by governments. Picture credit: Wikimedia 

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