Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and a U.N. panel on climate change have been awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to educate the public on the threat of global warming. Kevin Billinghurst reports from Stockholm.
In its citation Friday, the Norwegian Nobel Committee calls Al Gore "one of the world's leading environmentalist politicians," and says the IPCC has created an "ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming."
Thousands of scientists and officials representing more than one hundred countries collaborated within the U.N.-sponsored IPCC to study the causes and potential effects of climate change. The IPCC based its assessments and policy suggestions on peer-reviewed and published scientific literature.
Al Gore served in the United States Congress from 1977 to 1993, and as vice-president under Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001. Running for president in 2000, he lost a disputed vote to George W. Bush. Since leaving office, he has devoted himself to speaking on climate and environmental issues around the world, and in 2006 he produced the award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth.
Even before the announcement, activists in favor of a movement to draft Gore to run again for president next year were saying that a Nobel Peace Prize would force him to re-evaluate his repeated assertions that he is not interested in a new race. Those calls are now certain to grow more insistent.
Immediately after the announcement, reporters questioned Nobel Committee Chairman Ole Danbolt Mjøs on the political significance of this year's award, and whether it was an explicit renunciation of the environmental policies of the Bush administration, which has questioned the IPCC's consensus on climate and has refused to ratify the international Kyoto Protocol aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
"I am very much for support for all the measures that go to inhibit global warming," he said. "This prize should give the measure to everybody to say to themselves - every state's leader, every politician, every human being, me and you - what can we do to help the situation, because it is so important that everybody is taking part in this fight."
The Nobel Peace Prize is arguably the world's most prestigious civic award, and the Norwegian Nobel Committee has often used the prize to support individuals and organizations fighting for contemporary causes.
Earlier American Nobel Peace laureates include then-President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906; the civil rights campaigner Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1964; Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who shared the prize in 1973 with his North Vietnamese counterpart Le Duc Tho; and former President Jimmy Carter, who received his award in 2002.