Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is among four people named as the winners of a Right Livelihood Award, also known as the "Alternative Nobel."

The four winners will each receive 1 million krona ($162,000).

Thunberg is being recognised "for inspiring and amplifying political demands for urgent climate action reflecting scientific facts," the prize foundation said.

Amelie von Zweigbergk, left, and Ole von Uxekull announce the laureates for the 2019 Right Livelihood Award at a press conference in Stockholm. Photo / AP
Amelie von Zweigbergk, left, and Ole von Uxekull announce the laureates for the 2019 Right Livelihood Award at a press conference in Stockholm. Photo / AP

It added that the 16-year-old, who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, "personifies the notion that everyone has the power to create change. Her example has inspired and empowered people from all walks of life to demand political action."

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Created in 1980, the annual Right Livelihood Award honours efforts that the prize founder, Swedish-German philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull, felt were being ignored by the Nobel prizes.

Greta said in a statement by the Right Livelihood foundation that "whenever I receive an award, it is not me who is the winner. I am part of a global movement of school children, youth and adults of all ages who have decided to act in defence of our living planet."

It "is a huge recognition for Fridays For Future and the climate strike movement," she said in a statement.

The 16-year-old also spoke about Donald Trump's sarcastic response to her impassioned speech on climate change this week.

"Of course he was going to write that," she told a Scandinavian talk show on Wednesday.

"You can interpret it (the tweet) in many different ways, but I knew that at some time he was probably going to say something about me."

The US President tweeted that Thunberg seemed like a "very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future", following her speech at the United Nations summit on climate change on Tuesday.

Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, right, shakes hands with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, during the Youth Climate Summit at United Nations headquarters. Photo / AP
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, right, shakes hands with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, during the Youth Climate Summit at United Nations headquarters. Photo / AP

During the address, Thunberg became visibly emotional as she urged world leaders to do more to combat global warming.

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"You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words," she said. "How dare you. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing."

Trump's response was the first time the president had tweeted about the 16-year-old Swedish activist, who led worldwide climate protests last Friday.

"It doesn't make any difference in a way," she told the Norwegian-Swedish television production Skavlan, which will air the full interview on Friday.

In an earlier, cheekier response to the tweet, Thunberg changed her bio on Twitter to read "a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future".

It had previously read "16-year-old climate activist with Asperger's".

Thunberg's campaign began on August 20 in 2018, when she held solitary demonstrations outside Sweden's parliament, skipping classes once a week to protest climate change.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks to Australian business man Andrew Forrest as she arrives for a Blue Leaders breakfast briefing. Photo / AP
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks to Australian business man Andrew Forrest as she arrives for a Blue Leaders breakfast briefing. Photo / AP

Since then, her solo protest has inspired millions across the world to stage protests urging leaders to tackle global warming. But she told the UN summit she should never have had to skip school.

"This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us for hope. How dare you!" she said.

Trump and Thunberg did not meet in person while in New York for the UN General Assembly. The US President also appeared not to notice as she stared daggers at him while he addressed reporters.