By Dan Shapley
Efforts to Inspire Action on Global Warming Win World's Most Prestigious Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded early this morning to Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change "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."
In awarding the world's most prestigious prize for work to counteract global warming, the Norwegian prize committee signaled again that the health of the environment is a critical component to the well-being of millions of people around the world. Just as war harms lives, so does environmental degradation.
Gore, who since conceding the U.S. presidency to George W. Bush in 2000 has won an Oscar and an Emmy, has re-invented himself as a crusader for the climate. He was the star of the movie An Inconvenient Truth
, which is widely believed to have inspired the current level of interest in tackling the problems presented by global warming. He has also trained legions of climate campaigners to take his message, and his now-famous slide show, to local audiences around the world, and he kicked off a worldwide advertising campaign with Live Earth, a seven-continent musical event designed to spread knowledge and inspire action on global warming.
"What Al has done in the last two years has helped change the tide of history on the defining issue of our time, said Jonathan Lash, president of the World Resources Institute
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, is the U.N. body that brings together the scientists of the world to state consensus views on global warming, its causes, effects and possible solutions. Its most recent reports, this year, have shown that it is all but certain that global warming is caused by humankind's greenhouse gas pollution, primarily carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels and clearing forests. The consequences of unchecked global warming could be dire -- including extreme weather like floods, wildfires and drought, sea-level rise, the spread of new or re-emergent diseases, and -- yes -- war, dislocation and other human strife.
The solutions, both Gore and the IPCC make clear, are within our grasp. They range from low-tech technology like compact fluorescent light bulbs to sweeping governmental programs to cap emissions of carbon dioxide at coal-fired power plants.
The Nobel Peace prize, besides honoring these two deserving actors, proves that the green movement has reached a level of sophistication and success that should allow it to effect the changes that Gore and the IPCC advocate.
"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 worlds future climate, and thereby to reduce the threat to the security of mankind," the committee stated. "Action is necessary now, before climate change moves beyond mans control."
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