Greta Thunberg turns down award, says climate movement doesn't need 'more prizes'

"What we need is for our rulers and politicians to listen to the research," said the 16-year-old who has inspired millions around the globe to protest for climate action.
Image: Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, attends a climate rally, in Vancouver, British Columbi
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg attends a climate rally in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Oct. 25, 2019.Melissa Renwick / AP

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By The Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — 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 award ceremony Tuesday in Stockholm for the regional interparliamentary 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."

Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.

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

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

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 scolded a U.N. 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 2019, she was featured on the cover of Time magazine, which named her a "next generation leader."