Sustainability

Greta Thunberg Refuses Climate Award with $50K Prize

The Swedish activist said, “the climate movement does not need any more awards.”

Activist Greta Thunberg refused to accept an environmental award from the Nordic Council, saying people in power should pay attention to “science” and not awards. The prize for the award was over $50,000.
 
The 16-year-old Swedish climate activist was nominated for the award because of her impactful activism and her “Friday for Future” movement, and was invited to receive the award at a ceremony in Stockholm. But at the ceremony, a representative for Thunberg said she would not accept the award.
 
In an Instagram post, Thunberg later explained that it was a “huge honour” to receive the award, but, “the climate movement does not need any more awards.”
 
“What we need is for our politicians and the people in power start to listen to the current, best available science,” she continued.

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I have received the Nordic Council’s environmental award 2019. I have decided to decline this prize. Here’s why: “I am currently traveling through California and therefore not able to be present with you today. I want to thank the Nordic Council for this award. It is a huge honour. But the climate movement does not need any more awards. What we need is for our politicians and the people in power start to listen to the current, best available science. The Nordic countries have a great reputation around the world when it comes to climate and environmental issues. There is no lack of bragging about this. 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. In Sweden we live as if we had about 4 planets according to WWF and Global Footprint Network. And roughly the same goes for the entire Nordic region. In Norway for instance, the government recently gave a record number of permits to look for new oil and gas. The newly opened oil and natural gas-field, ”Johan Sverdrup” is expected to produce oil and natural gas for 50 years; oil and gas that would generate global CO2 emissions of 1,3 tonnes. The gap between what the science says is needed to limit the increase of global temperature rise to below 1,5 or even 2 degrees - and politics that run the Nordic countries is gigantic. And there are still no signs whatsoever of the changes required. The Paris Agreement, which all of the Nordic countries have signed, is based on the aspect of equity, which means that richer countries must lead the way. We belong to the countries that have the possibility to do the most. And yet our countries still basically do nothing. So until you start to act in accordance with what the science says is needed to limit the global temperature rise below 1,5 degrees or even 2 degrees celsius, I - and Fridays For Future in Sweden - choose not to accept the Nordic Councils environmental award nor the prize money of 500 000 Swedish kronor. Best wishes Greta Thunberg”

A post shared by Greta Thunberg (@gretathunberg) on

Thunberg also called out Nordic countries, saying they are not living up to their reputation as champions for climate change. Citing studies from the World Wildlife Fund and the Global Footprint Network, she said Norway had recently been given a record number of permits to look for new oil and gas, which would generate tons of CO2 emissions.
 
“We belong to the countries that have the possibility to do the most. And yet our countries still basically do nothing,” she said. “So until you start to act in accordance with what the science says is needed to limit the global temperature rise below 1,5 degrees or even 2 degrees celsius, I - and Fridays For Future in Sweden - choose not to accept the Nordic Council’s environmental award nor the prize money of 500 000 Swedish kronor.”
 
Thunberg was also nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, but the honor went to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for his role in ending the country’s 20-year conflict with neighboring Eritrea.