Thunberg wants action - not awards - Media Credit:

Greta Thunberg Rejects Major Award: ‘The Climate Doesn’t Need More Awards’

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Climate activist Greta Thunberg has declined a major award – saying the climate ‘doesn’t need any more awards’.

The 16-year-old environmentalist shot to global fame over the last year after inspiring millions of students around the world to ‘strike’ from school to demand political action on climate change as part of her ‘Fridays for Future’ movement.

In that time she has picked up multiple honors. But she declined the latest – the Nordic Council’s environmental award 2019, and its accompanying prize money of around $50,000 – and shared her reasoning.

‘Listening not prizes’

Thunberg took to Instagram to discuss why she would not be accepting the award. While she thanked the Nordic Council, saying the award was a ‘huge honor’, she added: “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.”

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 billion 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

Nordic environmental impact

Thunberg cited data from WWF and the Global Footprint Network, which says people in Sweden live ‘as if we had about four planets’, adding that ‘roughly the same goes for the entire Nordic region’. 

She added that the Norwegian government recently gave a record number of permits to look for new oil and gas, with one newly opened oil and natural gas-field ‘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…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 by saying that until Nordic countries start to act in accordance with what the science says is needed to limit the global temperature rise, she – and Fridays For Future in Sweden – would not accept the prize or accompanying cash.

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The Author

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the former editor for Plant Based News. She has been a newspaper reporter and features writer. Her work has been published by The Guardian and The Huffington Post, among others

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