Petition for a New Nobel Prize for the Fight Against Climate Change

Petition to the Board of the Nobel Foundation to consider the creation of a new Nobel Prize for Actions Against Climate Change

Contact : Helene Costa – – 206-489-8078  Seattle, WA

Link to the Petition

What will be the scope of a new Nobel Prize for Climate?

This new category will be geared towards actions, rewarding extraordinary achievements in emissions reduction, removal of historic emissions in the atmosphere and adaptation.

Alfred Nobel specified in his will that the prizes were to be awarded to those who “during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind.” Knowing what we know today, it seems abundantly clear that the greatest benefit to humankind is the work being done to reverse this man-made climate change cycle.

We believe that such a Climate Nobel can help foster additional momentum for decisive actions against climate change, by being:

  • A signal as to what are the World’s priorities: Because of their unique stand among International Prizes as the most prestigious of all, and their original mission to reward works for the greatest benefit to humankind, having a Climate Prize would solidify the importance and extreme urgency of climate action.
  • A tool to reshape the conversation on climate change: By dedicating an award to Climate actions, the Nobel Foundation has the power to bring the focus of the conversation on actions, discoveries and initiatives, which are making a difference in tackling climate change. 
  • A vehicle to raise awareness in a positive way: the prestige of the Prize will raise the profiles of Nobel Climate Laureates and anchor climate actions as a goal worth of the highest distinctions while providing hope by showing successful and meaningful climate actions and their impacts.
  • An additional avenue to increase the pressure for countries to raise their emissions reduction pledges and for corporations to adopt strategies consistent with climate goals:
    • Having a new Nobel Climate Prize created following an international petition would send a strong signal to governments and corporations that solutions and policies to tackle climate change are a priority of the utmost importance for people.
    • The Nobel Prizes, being announced a few weeks before the COP, will put additional pressure on governments to deliver at the annual UNFCCC conference.
    • It will become harder for corporations to justify to their shareholders growth plans ignoring climate change and the moral duty to reduce emissions.

How is it different from the Nobel Prizes received by Al Gore and the IPCC in 2007 and by William Nordhaus in 2018?

Whereas the Nobel prizes were awarded to Al Gore and the IPCC as part of the Nobel Peace Prize category and to William Nordhaus as part to the “Nobel” in Economic Sciences, this Nobel will be a new category of its own.


1) the Prize would focus on action.  The Climate Nobel would reward those who, through exemplary actions or groundbreaking discoveries, are doing the most or best to tackle climate change through mitigation of emissions, removal of past emissions in the atmosphere or adaptation.

2) The Prize will go back to the roots of the Nobel, celebrating recent achievements or discoveries.

3) It could recognize works that cannot be rewarded within the current scope of the 6 categories (such as works in carbon sequestration (eg. reforestation, soil sequestration, agro-forestry…), technological advancements not linked to fundamental research (eg. batteries, PV yields…), education and advocacy…)


The Prize, as any other Nobel Prizes category, would be awarded every year. Currently, there is only so much focus the various Nobel Committees can put on climate change (there is a gap of 11 years between the Peace Prize to the IPCC and the Economic Sciences Prize given to Nordhaus). Having a dedicated Prize on climate change would keep it a priority every year.

Can the Nobel Foundation accept to administer new Prizes?

In 1968, the Nobel Foundation accepted to administer a new in Economic Sciences in memory of Alfred Nobel, known as the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. Although the board made the decision not to accept new prizes, fifty years later, the list is due for an update.

We would be using the same process as the Central Bank of Sweden when they requested the Nobel Foundation to administer the Prize in Economic Sciences in memory of Alfred Nobel. We would thus be petitioning the Board of the Nobel Foundation to consider administering a new prize for Climate actions in memory of Alfred Nobel, which could be known as the Climate Nobel.

What is the petition’s goal?

We need 1 million supporters all around the worlds to make our request legitimate (we currently have 27K supporters):

  • Presenting the Foundation with the demand of administering a new prize can only be considered if a broader support for such a prize is shown.
  • Such support needs to be global to reflect both the International positioning of the Prize promoted by the Foundation itself and to be consistent with the very nature of the challenge.

Text of the petition: On October 8th, 2018, the special UN Report on Climate Change was published with alarming forecasts, but it was quickly buried by the constant cycle of breaking news.

Coincidently, the same week the report was released, the Nobel Prizes were awarded.

In his will, Alfred Nobel specified that the prizes were awarded for work that was “for the greatest benefit to humankind.

We believe that there is no greater benefit to mankind than to fight humanity’s most imminent threat: climate change.

That’s why through this petition we are asking the Board of the Nobel Foundation to consider the creation of a new Nobel Prize for the Fight Against Climate Change.

Decisive actions against climate change will be this century’s highest achievement. They deserve to be supported and honored with the highest distinction.

~ Helene Costa