The Nordic Council, an organization aimed at promoting cooperation between Nordic governments, awarded Thunberg the prize for "breathing new life into the debate surrounding the environment and climate at a critical moment in world history."
"She has stubbornly and persuasively urged the world to listen to research and act on the basis of facts," the council said in a statement.
Council president Hans Wallmark said that the body respects both Thunberg's decision to turn down the award "and the reasons for this decision."
As for the $52,000 award, Wallmark said the council "will now think carefully about what to do with the prize money."
In a statement on Instagram explaining why she declined, Thunberg slammed the council's member countries for not taking firmer action on climate change.
"The Nordic countries have a great reputation around the world when it comes to climate and environmental issues," she said. "But 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."
Thunberg referenced a recent WWF and Global Footprint Network report that stated Swedes, and other EU residents, are depleting natural ecosystems far faster than they can renew.
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