Friday, October 12, 2007

Al Gore Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

Well, still no word if Gerhard Ertl, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry is a fan of Al Gore. But that’s ok, because we did get word that the Nobel Committee is a fan of Mr. Gore. Now granted, the Peace Prize is handled by the Norwegians but Nobel was a Swede and Stockholm, and especially Sweden, is usually associated with the prize so you get my take on the whole thing.

Let me just repeat though. The Nobel Committee is a fan of Al Gore, maybe they like his dreamy, wavy hair, maybe they like the fact that e invented the internet, maybe they like the whole lovable loser persona he has going. Whatever it is though, Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, part of the U.N. was announced to be the joint winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. Gore also won an Academy Award for his movie “An Inconvenient Truth.” He's really raking in the prizes this year. At least he can win something after the whole not being President thing. That must have stung a bit.

My understanding of the Nobel Peace Prize has really taken a hit after this. I was under the impression that peace tended to involve some sort of work for human rights, ending conflict, that sort of thing. I was wrong, of course the committee seemed to understand the confusion this award may have caused and in the press release says that “[t]here may be increased danger of violent conflicts and wars, within and between states.” Good thing they cleared that up for us. That way we understand the connection between me driving a car and Al Gore bringing peace to the world.

I’m concerned that this might just put the Al Gore fan club over the top. This has added to the speculation that Gore will join the Presidential race in the US in 2008. Of course, the good thing with that is that at least Hillary Clinton might not win (if she does that means there would have been two last names as the President of the US since 1988. Ridiculous). Anyway, one of my favorite, and frightening for that matter, quotes from the Yahoo article about Gore’s win discusses the former Vice President’s life in regards to the presidency. Read and enjoy:

“Kenneth Sherrill, a political scientist at Hunter College in New York said Gore probably enjoys being a public person more than an elected official.

‘He seems happier and liberated in the years since his loss in 2000. Perhaps winning the Nobel and being viewed as a prophet in his own time will be sufficient,’ says Sherrill.”

That’s right. A prophet. Al Gore has just been compared to a prophet. Because he made a movie using the work of numerous scientists. And somehow he’s the prophet. And now he’s been further rewarded for this while all the scientists who work on this issue sit around in hybrids and wallow in their self pity and imagine what they would have done with the money and recognition that accompanies the Nobel Peace Prize.

I’m not a huge fan of Al Gore’s the sky is falling mentality. That being said I don’t think global warming can be ignored. Obviously, the choices we make have an effect on the world around us. In fact, quite a few people don’t completely buy what Gore is selling. And not just the Republican party either. It’s that whole thing that makes some people wonder if this was a political statement rather than a well thought out decision.

Again, from that same Yahoo article, an interesting point is brought up in regards to the decision: “‘Awarding it to Al Gore cannot be seen as anything other than a political statement. Awarding it to the IPCC is well-founded,’ said Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist.

He criticized Gore's film as having ‘some very obvious mistakes, like the argument that we're going to see six meters of sea-level rise,’ he said.

‘They (Nobel committee) have a unique platform in getting people's attention on this issue, and I regret they have used it to make a political statement.’”

Bjorn Lomborg (I’m betting he has some ö’s in his name but we’ll stick with the English version) is a professor at the Copenhagen Business School and has written some books on environmentalism and global warming. None of which I have read. Yet. I have read a few of his articles that can be found at the Washington Post. One of these articles titled “Chill out. Stop fighting over global warming -- here's the smart way to attack it” was published just a few days ago, it’s as if Bjorn knew what was coming. The article is why I believe every non-profit group, every scientist think tank, and anyone who really wants to make a difference in the world needs an economist working with them, or at least a better understanding of economics than most seem to have. Rather than throwing money at the flavor of the day, which if you ask Al Gore is carbon emissions and only carbon emissions, Lomborg suggests a more sustainable, and intelligent, way of fighting global warming. Definitely check out the article because nothing I write will do it justice.

And to leave everyone with something to mull over for a while check out this link titled, very simply, “An Inconvenient Truth: A Tale of Two Houses” and for the more skeptical in the bunch who don’t trust that source here is another take on the exact same issue titled “Glass Houses.” Enjoy.


  1. There's been lots of criticism and praise for Al Gore being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Do you guys think Al Gore deserved the prize?

  2. I think the Finnish Martti Ahtisaari should have won the peace prize. This year or last year. He has done peace work succesfully all his life. Me being a Finn may have something to do with this, but as long as Norwegians are deciding who'll get it, there is NO WAY that a Finn gets it. Norway envies Finland too much.

  3. Hey I'm all for a Finn. As long as it is someone who is actually working for peace rather than the environment. Environmental stuff should fit into the science category in my opinion.

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  5. So I have to admit I haven’t been able to read the blog lately because I have been overloaded with electoral politics and political philosophy homework, which makes this blog post that much more interesting for me. I also have a Macroeconomics paper due in November and I am really thinking about switching to this environmental economic issue and scraping my dilemma of thrift paper. Oh and good call about the article from Bjorn Lomborg.

  6. I'll forgive you. Sometimes economics gets in the way. If you're leaning towards environmental economics then it seems like Lomborg might be the way to go. He does good work and that article was spectacular. I loe economics because so many times it proves the hippies wrong. Especially environmental economics.