Chief Medical Officer, England
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At age 17, Greta Thunberg is easily the world’s favorite climate activist.
In July, she won the Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity, an award which distinguishes people or organizations that have been recognized in tackling climate change and energy preservation.
“We’re in a climate emergency," she says, "and my foundation will as quickly as possible donate all the prize money of €1 million (£900k) to support organizations and projects that are fighting for a sustainable world, defending nature and supporting people already facing the worst impacts of the climate and ecological crisis, particularly those living in the Global South."
Thunberg is the brainchild of “Fridays for the Future,” which she launched in 2018, encouraging students to skip school to demand action on climate change from their governments.
That November, when she was in ninth grade, Thunberg staged a two-week strike outside the Swedish parliament, demanding that her government cut emissions by 15% a year.
Thunberg’s efforts, dubbed the “Greta Thunberg effect,” has caused individuals and businesses to greatly offset its emissions by investing in carbon-reducing projects in a spate of emerging countries.
NGOs and organizations that participate in carbon offsetting have seen interest in investing in their companies increase fourfold.
Agencies who work alongside large corporations have experienced increased investments in carbon offsetting over the last 18 months. ClimateCare, a firm that helps organizations offset residual carbon emissions, says the amount of carbon offset has risen from 2 million tonnes to 20 million.
A speech Thunberg delivered in early 2019 prompted the European Commission to increase its budget on climate change over the next 10 years.
Jean Claude-Juncker, the then president of the European Commission, announced last year that every fourth euro spent within the EU budget between 2021 to 2027 will go to climate change.