‘Climate movement doesn’t need awards’: Greta Thunberg rejects Nordic Council environmental prize

Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg on Tuesday refused to accept an environmental award, saying the climate movement needed people in power to “listen” to “science” and “not any more prizes”.

Thunberg was honoured at a Stockholm ceremony by the Nordic Council, which is a regional body for inter-parliamentary cooperation. Two fellow activists spoke on Thunberg’s behalf at the award ceremony and quoted her as saying: “What we need is for our rulers and politicians to listen to the research,” according to AP. The 16-year-old is currently in the United States.

In an Instagram post, Thunberg explained her decision to turn down the prize money of 350,000 Danish kroner ($52,000). “The climate movement does not need any more awards,” she wrote in the post. “What we need is for our politicians and the people in power start to listen to the current, best available science,” she added.

She thanked the Nordic Council for the award and called it a “huge honour”. She also criticised the Nordic countries for not living up to their “great reputation” on climate problems. “There is no lack of bragging about this,” she wrote in the post. “There is no lack of beautiful words. But when it comes to our actual emissions and our ecological footprints per capita… then it’s a whole other story.”

Thunberg also pointed to a report from the World Wide Fund for Nature and the Global Footprint Network, which said Sweden, along with the most of Nordic region, lived as if the world has the resources of four planets. “The gap between what the science says is needed to limit the increase of global temperature and what was being implemented was gigantic”, Thunberg said. “We belong to the countries that have the possibility to do the most. And yet our countries still basically do nothing,” she added.

She concluded saying she will not accept the award until they start to act in accordance with what the science said.

The climate activist has rallied millions to her “Fridays for Future” movement and has demanded action on global warming repeatedly.

View this post on Instagram

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


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