Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Al Gore and UN Climate Body

Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Al Gore and UN Climate Body

The 2007 prize was awarded for extraordinary efforts to build awareness about man-made climate change and measures needed to counteract it.
Photo Credit: Flickr
Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States and author of An Inconvenient Truth. Photo Credit: Flickr
Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Albert Arnold 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."

By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the IPCC and the former U.S. Vice President, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said it 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," the committee warned, emphasizing the threat to world peace posed by global warming.

"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," the committee said. "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."

Al Gore has for a long time been one of the world's leading environmentalist politicians, says the Nobel Peace Prize citation. "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."

Action is necessary now, before climate change moves beyond man's control.
Gore, whose documentary on global warming "An Inconvenient Truth," won an Academy Award this year, has been widely viewed as the front-runner for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

He inspired and organized the Live Earth 24 hour global series of concerts in July to raise awareness of Earth's rising temperature, and has trained thousands of people to deliver the message about the dangers of global warming dramatized in his documentary.

There is an active group of more than 100,000 Democrats that is working to persuade Gore to run again for the presidency in 2008, and many have said that if he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, he would be more likely to do so. To date, Gore has said he is not interested in another run for the White House, but he has not definitively closed the door.

Through the scientific reports it has issued over the past two decades, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming, said the Nobel Committee.

Thousands of scientists and officials from over 100 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, the committee said.

Whereas in the 1980s global warming seemed to be merely an interesting hypothesis, the 1990s produced firmer evidence in its support.
The IPCC was established by the World Meteorological Organization and the UN Environment Programme to assess scientific, technical and socio- economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. Led by Chairman Rajendra Pachauri of India, the body is currently finalizing its Fourth Assessment Report "Climate Change 2007," which will be presented in November.

Speaking to the UN General Assembly on September 24, Dr. Pachauri detailed the facts of global warming.

"We, the human race, have substantially altered the Earth's atmosphere. In 2005 the concentration of carbon dioxide exceeded the natural range that has existed over 650,000 years," Pachauri said.

"Eleven of the warmest years since instrumental records have been kept occurred during the last 12 years and therefore climate change is accelerating. In the 20th century the increase in average temperature was 0.74 degrees centigrade; sea level increased by 17 cm and a large part of the Northern Hemisphere snow cover vanished," he said.

"Particularly worrisome is the reduction in the mass balance of the glaciers and this has serious implications for the availability of water; something like 500 million people in South Asia and 250 million people in China are likely to be affected as a result," said the IPCC chief.

Indications of changes in the Earth's future climate must be treated with the utmost seriousness, the Nobel Committee said, and "with the precautionary principle uppermost in our minds."

The Nobel prizes bestow a gold medal, a diploma and USD 1.5 million.

Reprinted with permission from Environment News Service. Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2007. All rights reserved.

To read another Global Envision article about climate change, see An Upbeat Message on Climate Change

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