By Lin Taylor
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Having inspired thousands around the world to protest for climate action, Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg has become the favourite to win the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, according to Britain’s leading bookmaker.
Thunberg, who rose to global prominence by staging a school strike to protest about lack of action to combat climate change, is favoured to win the prestigious international prize, with odds going at 5/2, said betting company Ladbrokes.
If the 16-year-old does win the award, she would become the youngest Nobel laureate, a title currently held by Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, who won the prize in 2014 aged 17.
Denis Mukwege, a doctor who helps victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nadia Murad, a Yazidi rights activist and survivor of sexual slavery by Islamic State, won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.
Thunberg’s chances of winning are slightly ahead of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose odds are at 6/1, and Pope Francis, 16/1, Ladbrokes said.
“The Swedish schoolgirl delivered a damning speech … at Westminster yesterday and has seen her odds of winning this year’s Nobel Peace Prize tumble as a result,” the company’s spokesman Alex Apati said in a statement.
Britain’s opposition leaders met Thunberg on Tuesday to discuss what the teenager calls an “existential crisis” for humanity.
After months of Brexit tumult, climate change has leapt back up Britain’s political agenda due to protests that closed some of London’s roads and led to over a thousand arrests.
There is broad political consensus in Britain that action is urgently needed to tackle climate change but Thunberg said told lawmakers that the country’s industrial policies failed to cut the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.