TIME's Person of the Year: Greta Thunberg. Will she accept the award?

The annual guessing game is over. Teen climate alarmist Greta Thunberg is TIME’s Person of the Year. The announcement was made this morning on NBC’s Today show by TIME editor in chief Edward Felsenthal. Given her declaration that “Environment doesn’t need any more prizes” and her refusal to accept the 2019 Nordic Council Environment Prize in October, will she accept this recognition?

The 16-year-old environmental scold was chosen for being a global community organizer, let’s be honest here. She is a victim of adult propagandists, though, not the victim of an environmental emergency as she often claims. Her dreams and childhood were “stolen” by her parents who began indoctrinating her at a very early age. By age eight she was showing signs of mental distress over climate change alarmism. That’s on her parents, not politicians.

“She embodies youth activism,” Felsenthal said. “Her rise in influence has been really extraordinary. She was a solo protester with a hand-painted sign 14 months ago. She’s now led millions of people around the world, 150 countries, to act on behalf of the planet, and she’s really been a key driver this year taking this issue from backstage to center.”

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.” As a local Meteorologist here in Houston tweeted, Thunberg’s hyperbole often reveals the absurdity of her claims. She hasn’t been sold into sex slavery or put to death for her religion. She has a home and now lives the life of a celebrity. She’s fine.


Thunberg has been wildly successful in getting her message out. Her Fridays for Future campaign which gives school children an excuse to play hookey once a week to protest with adults continues to grow. One reason she gave for not accepting the Nordic Council’s award was that the Nordic countries have not taken enough action to counter climate change. She’s a Swedish citizen. She criticized the Scandinavian countries’ emissions record, in particular, Norway’s oil policies. She continued to criticize Norway and also Canada at the COP25 Climate Conference in Madrid. She and fifteen other activists sent a letter to Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg demanding that Norway lead in providing a model for other countries to move away from fossil fuel production.

“Norway must honor its responsibilities to children everywhere,” Thunberg and the 15 other activists said in the letter to Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg. “It must demonstrate how a major fossil fuels producer and exporter can transition away from these pollutants, blazing a trail for other fossil fuel-reliant economies to follow.”

The same 16 petitioners, including children from Nigeria, the U.S. and the Marshall Islands, filed a legal complaint with the UN in September against France, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, and Turkey for not doing enough to tackle climate change. Their latest missives coincide with the UN’s COP25 meeting in Madrid, where Thunberg arrived last week after sailing back across the Atlantic following her trip to the UN Climate Climate Action Summit in New York in September.

Greta Thunberg is the youngest person designated as Person of the Year. Before this year, 25-year-old Charles Lindbergh held that distinction. He was selected as the most influential man of 1927, the same year TIME began the recognition.

COP25 is a long conference – eleven days in all. Miss Thunberg spoke to the participants and her message was as it usually is – no one is doing enough. She chided the world leaders on “finding loopholes” instead of solutions.

“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,” Thunberg said.

“Finding holistic solutions is what the COP should be all about, but instead it seems to have turned into some kind of opportunity for countries to negotiate loopholes and to avoid raising their ambition,” she added, to wide applause.

The four others who made the cut to the Final Five were President Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the CIA whistleblower, and the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. There are no runners-up this year. Instead, there are four additional categories.

The U.S. women’s soccer team, which captured the World Cup title in the summer, earned Athlete of the Year honors, while Grammy-nominated singer Lizzo was named Entertainer of the Year.

Disney CEO Bob Iger was named Businessperson of the Year after the successful launch of the streaming service Disney+ and a record of more than $10 billion in box office receipts for Disney films.

TIME also named “Public Servants” as the Guardians of the Year, which included the anonymous CIA whistleblower and “all of the career public servants who took great professional risks in pursuit of the truth.” That group also included Marie Yovanovitch, Bill Taylor, Fiona Hill and Alexander Vindman, all of whom are current or former government officials who have played a role in the impeachment proceedings.

A piece in Washington Post calls out the history of the honor as sexist.

In the remarkably sexist history of the honor, men have been chosen 66 times, groups of people 21 times and nonhuman entities twice (“the Computer” and “the Endangered Earth”).

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe were also on the shortlist of potential winners. Had one of them been chosen, she would have been the first American woman in more than 80 years.

The last American woman selected, in 1936, was Wallis Simpson — a woman famous for getting divorced and then getting married. Granted, she married the king of England, who abdicated his throne for her in what was a juicy but somewhat singular accomplishment.

Mostly the piece reads as a disappointment that Pelosi wasn’t chosen. Swamp creatures stick together, you know.