Friday, October 12, 2007

Gore Grabs Peace Prize

From the Wa Po:

Former vice president Al Gore and a United Nations panel that monitors climate change were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today for their work educating the world about global warming and advocating for political action to control it.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee characterized Gore as "the single individual who has done most" to convince world governments and leaders that climate change is real, is caused by human activity and poses a grave threat. Gore has focused on the issue through books, promotional events and his Academy Award-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."


As with last year's award to Bangladeshi banker Muhammad Yunus, whose pioneering use of small loans to the very poor contributes to the stability of developing nations, this year's prize focused on an issue not directly involving war and peace, but seen as critical to maintaining social stability.

In highlighting the IPCC's science and Gore's advocacy, peace prize committee chairman Ole Danbolt Mjoes said the hope was to use the power of the prestigious award to focus on an issue of planetary importance.

"I want this prize to have everyone . . . every human being, asking what they should do," Mjoes said.

The panel 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." Full article

I'm not dismissing Gore's works but it would seem to me that by expanding the scope of the Nobel Peace Prize to include more intangible contributions to peace lessens the award. Simply put Gore's works aren't of the same caliber as Nelson Mandela or Mother Theresa. Neither are Muhammad Yunus' works for that matter (although I give him high marks for creating a program that can be easily replicated by anyone in a developing nation with 100$ and a good amount of free time). But hey, its their award after all and they are free to cheapen it as they please.