Friday, October 12, 2007

Nobel Peace Prize goes political ... and Europeans gloat

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore shares this year's Nobel Peace Prize with the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

OSLO, Norway (AP) - Former Vice President Al Gore and the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Friday for their efforts to spread awareness of man-made climate change and lay the foundations for counteracting it.

"I am deeply honored to receive the Nobel Peace Prize," Gore said. "We face a true planetary emergency. The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity."

Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth," a documentary on global warming, won an Academy Award this year and he had been widely expected to win the prize.

(Click here for the full AP story, and here for the Nobel Prize Committee's summary of this year's decision.)

Gore's cinematic OpEd "An Inconvenient Truth," according to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, was only one reason for awarding him a share of the prize.

Peace Prize committee chairman Ole Danbolt Mjoes said a possible Gore presidential run was not his concern.

"I want this prize to have everyone ... every human being, asking what they should do," Mjoes said. "What he (Gore) decides to do from here is his personal decision."

Mjoes reiterated repeatedly that the prize was not aimed at singling out the Bush administration and its position on global warming.

"A peace prize is never a criticism of anything. A peace prize is a positive message and support to all those champions of peace in the world."

The last American to win the prize or share it was former President Carter in 2002.

Meanwhile, European media are gloating about "a public slap in the face" for President Bush by the Norwegian Nobel Committee and "the inconvenient truth for the current administration" that the prize has "brought to light."
"The Nobel Prize for Al Gore is the most elegant way imaginable of giving George W. Bush a slap in the face for his politics on climate change. It was a smart and highly political choice.

[Die Verleihung des Friedensnobelpreises an Al Gore ist die denkbar eleganteste Art, George W. Bush eine Ohrfeige in Sachen Klimapolitik zu verpassen. Es ist eine kluge und hochpolitische Wahl. ]

[...] The Nobel Prize Committee has done one thing in particular with its choice of Al Gore and the IPCC: And that is criticize the Bush administration's politics on climate change -- and give the President a loud slap in the face. The message to the White House is simple: Do something!"

[[...] das Nobelpreiskomitee hat mit seiner Entscheidung für Gore und den Weltklimarat vor allem eines getan: Die Klimapolitik der Regierung Bush gerügt - und dem Präsidenten eine schallende Ohrfeige versetzt. Die Botschaft lautet: Tut was, Ihr da im Weißen Haus!]

(Click here for the full commentary from Der Stern, a German weekly.]
What's interesting, of course (and maybe a bad form of karma), is that George H. W. Bush, father of the current U.S. President, ridiculed Al Gore as "Ozone Man" during the 1992 Presidential race with Bill Clinton.

All of this wraps up a week of excitement in Europe about European or European-born researchers dominating the scientific part of this year's Nobel lineup.


Anonymous said...

I do believe the Nobel Peace Prize Committee goes out of its way to slap Americans in the face, and we have come to regard your committee as a joke.

Yasser Arafat? He was the worst. Jimmy Carter? A failed President and a joke in the U.S. Al Gore? He's popularized global warming but also politicized it to the point that open discussion cannot occur.

Have your fun, Norwegians. And do try to remember that you're free because America won World War II.

Thank you.