Many people had bet on climate prophet Greta Thunberg to win the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, but instead, it was awarded to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali for his work in establishing a peace treaty with Eritrea. With this sober move, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has taken another step in re-establishing the prize as a credible and respectable institution.
A few decades ago, the Nobel Peace Prize was held in such high regard that it would have been unthinkable to imagine an ignorant teenager preaching climate alarmism as the top contender. However, during a period of abysmal leadership, the recognized institution managed to wreck any semblance of credibility.
The downturn started in 2004 with Wangari Muta Maathai as laureate. Officially she received the award “for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy, and peace,” but she was mainly just an environmentalist.
When Al Gore and the IPCC won in 2007, many people sarcastically renamed it the Nobel Green Award. It was turning into a joke.
In 2009, the former leader of the Social Democratic Party in Norway, Thorbjørn Jagland, became the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, and the first thing he did was to give the award to President Barack Obama for not being President George W. Bush. Obama was visibly embarrassed over being given the prize after only a few months in office, having accomplished nothing. As if to underscore the absurdity of that decision, Obama went on to become one of the most warring presidents in US history.
In 2015, Jagland, who is a gaffe master only surpassed by former Vice President Joe Biden, was demoted as chairman, an unprecedented move in the history of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Clash with China
The boldest move by the Nobel Committee in the last decade was to give the award to Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo in 2010. China immediately retaliated by boycotting Norway. The Norwegian Prime Minister tried to explain to China that the Nobel Committee was an independent institution and that it did not speak on behalf of the government. China didn’t care and wanted to use force to silence voices of opposition by any means.
This gave Obama a fantastic opportunity to prove himself worthy of the prize he had received a year earlier. He could have stood up against tyranny and defended free speech and individual rights but chose instead to ignore and appease China. Consequently, Chinese human rights activists will not be receiving recognition by the Nobel Committee any time soon.
The Slow Recovery
After the string of damaging awards, the Committee received such sharp criticism that they returned to the core values established in Alfred Nobel’s will. In the last nine years, the prize has only been awarded to people or organizations involved in peace work and the establishment of human rights. However, the damage was already done. By now, most people expect every radical green activist who speaks at the UN to become a laureate. This shows that recovering from the flirtation with environmentalism may still take many years.