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Al Gore: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate – Update
Written by Diana Thebaud Nicholson // December 10, 2007 // Climate Change // 2 Comments
The Nobel Peace Prize 2007 was awarded jointly to 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”
OSLO, Norway: Al Gore accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on Monday and called on humanity to mobilize at once against the dangers of a changing climate.
“Without realizing it, we have begun to wage war on the earth itself,” Gore said in his acceptance speech. “Now, we and the earth’s climate are locked in a relationship familiar to war planners: ‘Mutually assured destruction.’ It is time to make peace with the planet.”
Gore was awarded the prize for sounding the alarm over global warming and spreading awareness on how to counteract it. His co-winner, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was represented by its leader, Rajendra Pachauri.
“I will urge the delegates in Bali to adopt a bold mandate for a treaty,” Gore said.
In a speech that evoked Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi and the Bible, Gore said the world’s biggest polluters, the United States and China, must stop blaming each other for the stalemate over warming.
Instead, they must take the lead in solving a problem for which they bear a large responsibility, he said, or be “accountable before history for their failure to act.”
He drew a parallel between leaders ignoring the climate crisis and those whom Churchill, the British prime minister, lambasted for inaction as Adolf Hitler built up Nazi Germany before World War II.
“Too many of the world’s leaders are still best described in the words Winston Churchill applied to those who ignored Adolf Hitler’s threat: ‘They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent,'” Gore said.
To meet the new “planetary emergency,” Gore said, “We must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency and resolve that has previously been seen only when nations mobilized for war.”
Although Pachauri described the threat largely in measured, scientific terms, he too described a grim fate for the planet if the emission of greenhouse gasses is not limited. A warming climate could lead to flooding of low-lying countries, disruptions to food supply, the spread of diseases and the loss of biodiversity, he said.
“Neglect in protecting our heritage of natural resources could prove extremely harmful for the human race and for all species that share common space on Planet Earth,” Pachauri said in his speech. “It is within the reach of human society to meet these threats.”
Gore urged world leaders to put a new climate treaty in place by 2010 — two years earlier than planned. Heads of state should meet every three months to negotiate the treaty because global warming must be slowed, he said.
“The future is knocking at our door right now. Make no mistake, the next generation will ask us one of two questions,” said Gore. “Either they will ask: ‘What were you thinking; why didn’t you act? Or they will ask instead: ‘How did you find the moral courage to rise and successfully resolve a crisis that so many said was impossible to solve?'”
How truly wonderful that on the day following the furor over the British High Court ruling against showing An Inconvenient Truth in UK schools, we should wake to the news that the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Al Gore and the IPCC. Amidst joyful accolades from around the world were inevitably mean-spirited if not slanderous comments from the far Right While the news will soon be history, we cannot resist posting Paul Krugman’s masterful op-ed piece of October 15
Gore Derangement Syndrome
By PAUL KRUGMAN
On the day after Al Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize, The Wall Street Journal’s editors couldn’t even bring themselves to mention Mr. Gore’s name. Instead, they devoted their editorial to a long list of people they thought deserved the prize more.
And at National Review Online, Iain Murray suggested that the prize should have been shared with “that well-known peace campaigner Osama bin Laden, who implicitly endorsed Gore’s stance.” You see, bin Laden once said something about climate change — therefore, anyone who talks about climate change is a friend of the terrorists.
What is it about Mr. Gore that drives right-wingers insane?
Partly it’s a reaction to what happened in 2000, when the American people chose Mr. Gore but his opponent somehow ended up in the White House. Both the personality cult the right tried to build around President Bush and the often hysterical denigration of Mr. Gore were, I believe, largely motivated by the desire to expunge the stain of illegitimacy from the Bush administration.
And now that Mr. Bush has proved himself utterly the wrong man for the job — to be, in fact, the best president Al Qaeda’s recruiters could have hoped for — the symptoms of Gore derangement syndrome have grown even more extreme.
The worst thing about Mr. Gore, from the conservative point of view, is that he keeps being right. In 1992, George H. W. Bush mocked him as the “ozone man,” but three years later the scientists who discovered the threat to the ozone layer won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In 2002 he warned that if we invaded Iraq, “the resulting chaos could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam.” And so it has proved.
But Gore hatred is more than personal. When National Review decided to name its anti-environmental blog Planet Gore, it was trying to discredit the message as well as the messenger. For the truth Mr. Gore has been telling about how human activities are changing the climate isn’t just inconvenient. For conservatives, it’s deeply threatening.
Consider the policy implications of taking climate change seriously.
“We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals,” said F.D.R. “We know now that it is bad economics.” These words apply perfectly to climate change. It’s in the interest of most people (and especially their descendants) that somebody do something to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, but each individual would like that somebody to be somebody else. Leave it up to the free market, and in a few generations Florida will be underwater.
The solution to such conflicts between self-interest and the common good is to provide individuals with an incentive to do the right thing. In this case, people have to be given a reason to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, either by requiring that they pay a tax on emissions or by requiring that they buy emission permits, which has pretty much the same effects as an emissions tax. We know that such policies work: the U.S. “cap and trade” system of emission permits on sulfur dioxide has been highly successful at reducing acid rain.
Climate change is, however, harder to deal with than acid rain, because the causes are global. The sulfuric acid in America’s lakes mainly comes from coal burned in U.S. power plants, but the carbon dioxide in America’s air comes from coal and oil burned around the planet — and a ton of coal burned in China has the same effect on the future climate as a ton of coal burned here. So dealing with climate change not only requires new taxes or their equivalent; it also requires international negotiations in which the United States will have to give as well as get.
Everything I’ve just said should be uncontroversial — but imagine the reception a Republican candidate for president would receive if he acknowledged these truths at the next debate. Today, being a good Republican means believing that taxes should always be cut, never raised. It also means believing that we should bomb and bully foreigners, not negotiate with them.
So if science says that we have a big problem that can’t be solved with tax cuts or bombs — well, the science must be rejected, and the scientists must be slimed. For example, Investor’s Business Daily recently declared that the prominence of James Hansen, the NASA researcher who first made climate change a national issue two decades ago, is actually due to the nefarious schemes of — who else? — George Soros.
Which brings us to the biggest reason the right hates Mr. Gore: in his case the smear campaign has failed. He’s taken everything they could throw at him, and emerged more respected, and more credible, than ever. And it drives them crazy.
2 Comments on "Al Gore: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate – Update"
I congratulate Mr Al Gore and Dr. RK Pachury for sharing the Noble Peace prize. I hope they work harder to make this earth safe for the people to survive.
21 November CBC Political Bytes
American scientists who were part of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are getting a pat on the back from the White House, while their Canadian counterparts seem to be getting the cold shoulder from Ottawa.
The UN panel of scientists shared this year’s Nobel Peace Prize with former American vice-president Al Gore. The panel, which released three detailed reports earlier this year on the state of climate change and its effect on the environment, is made up of scientists from around the world.
The Americans on the panel have been invited to the White House for a reception with President George W. Bush to celebrate their work and the award.
But the 20 or so Canadian scientists who were part of the Nobel-winning group haven’t heard a peep from the Canadian government.
Asked by the CBC whether there are any plans to recognize the Canadian effort, Environment Minister John Baird said, “It’s not something that I’ve thought about but I think we should honour the great work that they’ve done. I expect myself and other ministers where these scientists work in our department will want to honour the great work that they’ve done.”[Sounds like Minister Baird has been taking speaking lessons from GWB]