Al Gore and climate panel win Nobel Peace Prize
24 October 2007
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Al Gore and climate panel win Nobel Peace Prize - 24 October 2007
The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Al Gore, former vice-president of the US, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in a dramatic statement about the importance of tackling man-made climate change.
The Nobel Committee said that Gore and the IPCC had been awarded the prize, "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."
Al Gore, who served as vice president of the US under Bill Clinton, and was defeated by George W Bush in the 2000 US presidential elections, has since become a global campaigner for action against climate change. He has already won an Academy Award for his climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth and, in 2007, Gore also helped organise Live Earth concerts, which sought to raise awareness about 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 Nobel committee said in announcing the prize.
Giving the prize to Gore is likely to stoke ongoing controversy about the accuracy of his film and his campaigning efforts however. Most recently, a British judge ruled that An Inconvenient Truth could be shown in UK schools, but also pointed to nine scientific inaccuracies and warned that the film's claims were made in "the context of alarmism and exaggeration".
But some scientific experts have commended the decision. "Insofar as global warming is likely to cause major problems and exacerbate or create conflicts over where people live and water supplies in particular, doing something to prevent that from happening is worthy of a peace prize," says John Shepherd, deputy director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.
However, he adds that the move "represents a shift in the way peace is viewed by the Nobel committee, to a view that it is not just about reducing conflict but about creating the conditions for people to live peacefully together."
"In last years that there have been quite clear efforts to draw links between climate change and conflict, to show that climate change can exacerbate conflict by changing access to resources such as water, by promoting famine," adds Kirsty Hamilton, a sustainable energy expert at Chatham House, a foreign-policy think tank based in London, UK.
"In that sense I think it is incredibly welcome that Al Gore and the IPCC have been given this peace prize. It helps people understand that climate change does not just deal with environment issues," she says.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a UN-backed body that has organised a series of reviews about climate change. Since 1990, the IPCC has published four "assessment reports" summarising progress in climate change science. The reports are meant to represent scientific consensus about climate change. The latest report was published in three stages throughout 2007.
The key findings of the 2007 IPCC report were that there is a 90% or greater certainty that human activities are causing climate change, the effects of this change are already being felt world-wide, and that limiting global warming to between 2°C and 4°C will slow the annual growth of global GDP by just 0.12% by 2030.
Article from NewScientist - Environment
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