'Climate Movement Doesn't Need Awards': Greta Thunberg Turns Down Nordic Council’s Prize

The teenage activist said politicians and the people in power need to start listening to the best available science.

New Delhi: Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has declined to accept the 2019 Nordic Council’s environmental award and the prize money of 500 000 Swedish kronor, by saying that instead of awards, the climate movement needed “politicians and the people in power start to listen to the current, best available science”.

Thunberg, who became a leading figure in the climate justice movement after she started skipping school every Friday to launch a protest in front of the Swedish parliament demanding action against climate change, addressed her decision to turn down the award in an Instagram post.

Pointing out that while the Nordic countries had a great reputation around the world when it came to climate and environmental issues, Thunberg said that “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”.

Citing reports from WWF and Global Footprint Network, Thunberg said that “in Sweden we live as if we had about 4 planets” and added that the same applied to countries in the entire Nordic region. She also pointed out that the Norwegian government had recently awarded a record number of permits to look for new oil and gas that was expected to generate carbon 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,” Thunberg wrote.

Also read: ‘Won’t Let You Get Away With This’: Full Text of Greta Thunberg’s UN Speech

Thunberg also noted that the Paris agreement, which all the Nordic countries were signatories to, was “based on the aspect of equity” and hence it was incumbent upon the richer countries to 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,” Thunberg wrote.