2007’s Nobel Prize for Peace sailed out to Al Gore and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.”
First, this is a big win for science. The IPCC has been victim of political knee-capping as virulent as any we’ve seen in the last 25 years. Science wins out with the Nobel.
Second, if, in October 2000, we had been able to see a headline, “Al Gore wins Nobel Peace Prize,” what would we have thought that meant about the results of the 2000 election? It’s an indictment of the inaction of the Bush regime that in 6 years Al Gore has done enough to win a Nobel for his efforts, while the Bush administration has not.
Third, while Gore is U.S. citizen, he’s a graduate of St. Alban’s School in Washington, D.C., a good private school. I’m 0-4 on public school grads winning Nobels this year. So much for my predictions. Of course, P. Z. Myers argues Nobels are at best a lagging indicator (how’s that for zipping in an economic term, social studies teachers?). But he’s talking about science, not education in general. P. Z. says the real disaster for U.S. awards is ahead, when our failure to support science in research and graduate study starts to “pay off.”
Al Gore is a good guy, in my experience. He’s knowledgeable about a lot of things, he has foresight (we’d not have this internet but for Gore’s work to save it in its infancy), and he’s a mensch. Ah, for the things that could have been.
- Press release from the Norwegian Nobel Committee (full text below the fold)
- British court rules “Inconvenient Truth” a political film, with errors (ABC News story notable for its quoting of crank science advocates — are there no editors at ABC any more? Remember when I said science won out? The science deniers aren’t going quietly.)
- Chicago Tribune story
- Melbourne (Australia) Herald-Sun story
- Tom Friedman’s column in the New York Times, October 14, 2007, “Who will succeed Al Gore?”
- Eli Rabett’s view
- Creators Syndicate columnist contrasts Bush and Gore
The Nobel Peace Prize for 2007
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 is to be shared, in two equal parts, between the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.
Indications of changes in the earth’s future climate must be treated with the utmost seriousness, and with the precautionary principle uppermost in our minds. Extensive climate changes may alter and threaten the living conditions of much of mankind. They may induce large-scale migration and lead to greater competition for the earth’s resources. Such changes will place particularly heavy burdens on the world’s most vulnerable countries. There may be increased danger of violent conflicts and wars, within and between states.
Through the scientific reports it has issued over the past two decades, the IPCC has created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming. Thousands of scientists and officials from over one hundred countries have collaborated to achieve greater certainty as to the scale of the warming. Whereas in the 1980s global warming seemed to be merely an interesting hypothesis, the 1990s produced firmer evidence in its support. In the last few years, the connections have become even clearer and the consequences still more apparent.
Al Gore has for a long time been one of the world’s leading environmentalist politicians. He became aware at an early stage of the climatic challenges the world is facing. His strong commitment, reflected in political activity, lectures, films and books, has strengthened the struggle against climate change. He is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted.
By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 to the IPCC and Al Gore, the Norwegian Nobel Committee is seeking to contribute to a sharper focus on the processes and decisions that appear to be necessary to protect the world’s future climate, and thereby to reduce the threat to the security of mankind. Action is necessary now, before climate change moves beyond man’s control.
Oslo, 12 October 2007