Why Greta Thunberg rejected a €46k environmental award

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has confirmed she has rejected a large monetary prize from the Nordic Council – here's why she turned it down

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old activist behind the Global Climate Strike, has rejected the Nordic Council’s environmental award for 2019.

Taking to Instagram, the teenager thanked the Council for the "huge honour" but said she has decided to "decline this prize". In doing so, she has also turned down prize money of 500,000 Swedish kronor (or €46,000).



Greta, who is currently travelling around North America after two weeks at sea, said, "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," she said. "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 four planets according to WWF and Global Footprint Network. And roughly the same goes for the entire Nordic region.


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'Act in accordance'

As always, Greta used scientific research to back up her statement. "In Norway for instance, the government recently gave a record number of permits to look for new oil and gas," she said.


"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.


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"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," Greta said bluntly.

"So until you start to act in accordance with what the science says is needed to limit the global temperature rise, 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."


Photo: Greta Thunberg via Instagram

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