"Wow, this is unbelievable! I share this great honour with everyone in the #FridaysForFuture movement and climate activists everywhere," Greta Thunberg posted on her Twitter page.

By Ian Horswill

Posted on December 12, 2019

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg said it was a “great honour” to be named Time’s Person of the Year.

“Wow, this is unbelievable! I share this great honour with everyone in the #FridaysForFuture movement and climate activists everywhere,” the 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, who is from Stockholm, Sweden, posted on Twitter.

Greta Thunberg, called a “brat” by Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, belittled by US President Donald Trump and called a “kind but poorly informed teenager” by Russian President Vladimir Putin, is Time‘s youngest Person of the Year and only the fifth female the magazine has bestowed the award to since 1927.

Greta Thunberg has become the face of a new generation of environmental activists, drawing large crowds with her appearances at protests and conferences over the past 18 months.

Time detailed why Thunberg was its person of the year.

“For sounding the alarm about humanity’s predatory relationship with the only home we have, for bringing to a fragmented world a voice that transcends backgrounds and borders, for showing us all what it might look like when a new generation leads, Greta Thunberg is Time’s 2019 Person of the Year.”

As she left the United Nations’ climate conference COP25 in Madrid, Greta Thunberg told AP News that she was “a bit surprised” at the award.

“I could never have imagined anything like that happening,” she said in a phone interview.

“I’m of course, very grateful for that, very honoured,” before adding: “It should be everyone in the Fridays for Future movement because what we have done, we have done together.”

At COP25, Greta Thunberg accused world powers of making constant attempts “to negotiate loopholes and to avoid raising their ambition”.

“The real danger is when politicians and CEOs are making it look like real action is happening when, in fact, almost nothing is being done apart from clever accounting and creative PR,” she said, drawing applause.

“In just three weeks we’ll enter a new decade, a decade that will define our future. Right now, we’re desperate for any sign of hope.”

The European Commission’s executive has announced environmental proposals to cut the bloc’s dependency on fossil fuels, with the aim to make Europe carbon neutral by 2050.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who took office on 1 December, said the proposals affect everything from transport and buildings to food production, and air and water pollution.

The package will be debated by EU leaders at a summit on Thursday and includes:

  1. A €100bn (US$110bn) to help countries still heavily dependent on fossil fuels transition to renewable energy sources
  2. Proposals to tighten the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2030
  3. A law that will set the EU “onto an irreversible path to climate neutrality” by 2050
  4. A plan to promote a more circular economy – designed to eliminate waste – that will address more sustainable products as well as a “farm to fork” strategy to improve the sustainability of food production and distribution