Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who emerged in 2019 as an internationally-recognized voice for climate change activism, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by two Swedish lawmakers.
The members of Sweden's Left Party, Jens Holm and Hakan Svenneling, said in a statement on Monday that Thunberg "has worked hard to make politicians open their eyes to the climate crisis" and "action for reducing our emissions and complying with the Paris Agreement is therefore also an act of making peace." The Nobel Committee itself, which is in Norway, did not publicly comment on Thunberg's nomination. If chosen, she would join Malala Yousafzi, a Pakistani women's education activist who won the award when she was 17 years old, as the youngest Nobel laureate.
Thunberg has emerged as a controversial figure among conservatives. President Donald Trump took aim at the teenager last month during an address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, saying: "To embrace the possibilities of tomorrow, we must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse. They are the errors of yesterday's fortune tellers, and we have them and I have them. And they want to see us do badly, but we don't let that happen."
He later added, "This is not a time for pessimism. This is a time for optimism. Fear and doubt is not a good thought process, because this is a time for tremendous hope and joy and optimism and action."
Trump's treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, also jabbed Thunberg during the Davos summit.
"Is she the chief economist? Or who is she? I'm confused," Mnuchin told reporters when asked about Thunberg's views on divesting from fossil fuels. After saying that his remarks were "a joke" intended to be "funny," Mnuchin added: "After she goes and studies economics in college, she can come back and explain that to us."
Thunberg was chosen in December as Time Magazine's Person of the Year, the youngest person to ever receive that honor. In his essay explaining the choice, Time's editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal wrote that Thunberg's climate change could be connected to "the student-led protests on the streets of Santiago, Chile, to the young democracy activists fighting for rights and representation in Hong Kong to the high schoolers from Parkland, Fla., whose march against gun violence Thunberg cites as an inspiration for her climate strikes."
Kevin Trenberth, a distinguished senior scientist in the climate analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, told Salon earlier this month that he is "impressed" by Thunberg's knowledge of climate science.
"I have been enormously impressed by Greta Thunberg as to how well-informed and widely read she is," Trenberth told Salon. Ken Caldeira, an atmospheric scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science's Department of Global Ecology, also told Salon that "Greta Thunberg's remarks on climate science have been accurate.