Activist Greta Thunberg declines climate prize, urges more action

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg at a climate rally in Vancouver, British Columbia
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg attends a climate rally in Vancouver, Canada, on Friday.
(Melissa Renwick / The Canadian Press)

Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has inspired millions across the world to stage protests urging leaders to better tackle global warming, has declined an environmental prize, saying “the climate movement does not need any more prizes.”

Two fellow climate activists spoke on Thunberg’s behalf at an awards ceremony Tuesday in Stockholm for the regional inter-parliamentary Nordic Council’s prizes, reading a statement thanking the group for the honor. Thunberg, 16, is currently in California.

But Sofia and Isabella Axelsson quoted Thunberg as saying that “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, each worth 350,000 Danish kroner ($52,000).

It is not the first prize that the climate activist has won or been nominated for.

Three Norwegian lawmakers nominated her for the Nobel Peace Prize this year because they believe “the massive movement Greta has set in motion is a very important peace contribution.”

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Last year, about three months into her school climate strike campaign, Thunberg declined another award — the Children’s Climate Prize, which is awarded by a Swedish electricity company — because many of the finalists had to fly to Stockholm for the ceremony.

Thunberg notes that flights contribute to global warming, so she sailed across the Atlantic Ocean for two weeks on a zero-emissions sailboat to reach New York. There the Swede confronted a United Nations climate conference in September, repeatedly asking, “How dare you?”


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

Weeks later, Thunberg won the 2019 Right Livelihood Award — known as the Alternative Nobel — “for inspiring and amplifying political demands for urgent climate action reflecting scientific facts.”

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