New environment Nobel award needed: Norwegian

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Oslo, Dec 8: A new Nobel prize should be created to rewardwork to protect the environment and combat climate change, a formerNorwegian environment minister said.

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

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

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

''Norway should take the initiative so that there would be amemorial environment prize of its own for those who globally make acontribution to preserving natural diversity and reversing the negativetrend in climate change,'' Brende said on Norwegian NRK TV newsyesterday.

Geir Lundestad, head of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, said:''This question has already been discussed in the Nobel Foundation andthe clear decision has been that no new Nobel prizes are to becreated.'' Past suggestions to create more Nobel prizes, such as formusic, have been rejected.

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

The Nobel prizes are conferred annually on December. 10, theanniversary of the death of Nobel, to the prize winners whose names areusually announced in October. All the prizes except for peace areawarded in Stockholm.

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


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