Friday, 12 October 2007

Al Gore and the Nobel Peace Prize

This blog may be sometimes accused of being a little grumpy, so let's give a big Hurrah! to the Nobel Prize Committee for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore and the IPCC. Al Gore needs no introduction, although unlike some of the current crop of green politicians he's no johnny-come-lately; I prize my copy of his 1992 work "Earth in the Balance", written just before he became vice-President.

Of course, this was - like most Nobel Peace Awards - a political decision, and coming just after President Bush's rather strange anti-climate change summit, it shows that the committee in Sweden can tell real McCoy from the fake. What Al Gore realises, is that we have to act; climate change may be an inconvenient truth, but it is the truth, and needs a concerted global response.

And it's also pleasing to see that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shares the award, for this is the group that has cautiously advanced the scientific case, building a consensus and providing hard facts on which the rest of us can base our arguments. Without the IPCC, the nay-sayers really would still be denying the evidence all around us.

However, to end the short celebratory post, I'll return to the words of Al Gore, in his 1992 book1: "We can work to achieve it and preserve it [the balance now missing in our relationship to the earth], or we can whirl blindly on, behaving as if one day there will be no children to inherit our legacy. The choice is ours; the earth is in the balance."

1 Conclusion on p 368, British Edition (Earthscan Publications)

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