From: Reuters
Published December 7, 2006 12:00 AM

New Environment Nobel Award Needed, Norwegian Says

OSLO -- A new Nobel prize should be created to reward work to protect the environment and combat climate change, a former Norwegian environment minister said on Thursday.


But the head of the Norwegian Nobel Institute said the idea had already been considered and rejected by Sweden's Nobel Foundation.


The Swedish philanthropist and inventor of dynamite Alfred Nobel provided for five prizes in his 1895 will -- for peace, literature, physics, chemistry and medicine. A sixth prize, for economics, was created in 1968 by the Bank of Sweden.


Boerge Brende, Norway's minister of the environment in 2001-2004 and now a Conservative member of parliament, said an environment prize could be set up as an award in memory of Alfred Nobel, like the economics prize.


"Norway should take the initiative so that there would be a memorial environment prize of its own for those who globally make a contribution to preserving natural diversity and reversing the negative trend in climate change," Brende said on Norwegian NRK TV news.


Geir Lundestad, head of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, said: "This question has already been discussed in the Nobel Foundation and the clear decision has been that no new Nobel prizes are to be created."


Past suggestions to create more Nobel prizes, such as for music, have been rejected.


In 2004, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai for her work planting trees in Africa -- an award that experts saw as an expansion of the concept of peace beyond disarmament and human rights work.


The Nobel prizes are conferred annually on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of Nobel, to the prize winners whose names are usually announced in October. All the prizes except for peace are awarded in Stockholm.


The peace prize is awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo and will be handed to this year's laureates, Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank, for their work to lift millions out of poverty by granting tiny loans.


Source: Reuters


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