Al Gore and IPCC share Nobel Peace Prize

Al Gore and IPCC share Nobel Peace Prize
Photo: Brett Wilson
Former US Vice President Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are to share the Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has announced.

Gore and the IPPC were awarded “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,” the committee said in a statement.

The committee further noted that “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”.

If allowed to alter the living conditions of mankind, the threat of extensive climate changes could lead to an increased risk of violent conflicts and wars within and between states, the committee said. Untrammeled global warming could eventually give rise to large-scale migration and greater competition for the earth’s resources.

“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,” the committee said.

Describing Al Gore as one of the world’s leading environmentalist politicians, the committee highlighted his early awareness of the challenges presented by climate change.

“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.”

The IPCC received praise for its commitment over the past two decades to creating an informed consensus about the link 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,” the committee said.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee consists of members selected by the parliament of that country. Alfred Nobel never made clear his reasons for requesting a Norwegian body to award the Peace Prize. At the time when Nobel made the decision in 1895, the Swedish-Norwegian union was still in place.

The Norwegian Nobel Institute speculates that that the Swedish innovator may have viewed the smaller country – “more innocent in matters of power politics” – as a more appropriate home for the prize than the largest of the Scandinavian nations.