Al Gore Wins Nobel Peace Prize
Former Vice President Al Gore and the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Friday for their efforts to spread awareness of man-made climate change and lay the foundations for counteracting it. Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth,” a documentary on global warming, won an Academy Award this year and he had been widely expected to win the prize. “His strong commitment, reflected in political activity, lectures, films and books, has strengthened the struggle against climate change,” the citation said. “He is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted.” It cited Gore’s awareness at an early stage “of the climatic challenges the world is facing.
The committee cited the Panel on Climate Change for two decades of scientific reports that have “created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming.” Members of the panel, a network of 2,000 scientists, were surprised that it was chosen to share the honor with Gore, a spokeswoman said. “We would have been happy even if he had received it alone because it is a recognition of the importance of this issue,” spokeswoman Carola Traverso Saibante said.
This continues the trend of the Peace Prize being awarded, not for achievements in spreading peace, but to highlight the Committee’s political agenda.
Climate change has moved high on the international agenda this year. The U.N. climate panel has been releasing reports, talks on a replacement for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate are set to resume and on Europe’s northern fringe, where the awards committee works, there is growing concern about the melting Arctic.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said global warming, “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.”
Anticipating the rather obvious question:
Jan Egeland, a Norwegian peace mediator and former U.N. undersecretary for humanitarian affairs, also called climate change more than an environmental issue. “It is a question of war and peace,” said Egeland, now director of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs in Oslo. “We’re already seeing the first climate wars, in the Sahel belt of Africa.” He said nomads and herders are in conflict with farmers because the changing climate has brought drought and a shortage of fertile lands.
This strikes me as, shall we say, a stretch.
UPDATE: To clarify a bit, I would argue that said links are tenuous and speculative, at best. And I’m not a global warming denialist; I just think the long term projections on such matters are meaningless owing to basic chaos theory.
More to the point, though, the peace angle has never been Al Gore’s primary agenda vis-a-vis global warming. Moreover, despite being the leading evangelist for measures to prevent/reverse global warming, nothing he’s done to date has actually yielded more peace.