2007’s Nobel Prize for Peace sailed out to Al Gore and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “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.”
First, this is a big win for science. The IPCC has been victim of political knee-capping as virulent as any we’ve seen in the last 25 years. Science wins out with the Nobel.
Second, if, in October 2000, we had been able to see a headline, “Al Gore wins Nobel Peace Prize,” what would we have thought that meant about the results of the 2000 election? It’s an indictment of the inaction of the Bush regime that in 6 years Al Gore has done enough to win a Nobel for his efforts, while the Bush administration has not.
Third, while Gore is U.S. citizen, he’s a graduate of St. Alban’s School in Washington, D.C., a good private school. I’m 0-4 on public school grads winning Nobels this year. So much for my predictions. Of course, P. Z. Myers argues Nobels are at best a lagging indicator (how’s that for zipping in an economic term, social studies teachers?). But he’s talking about science, not education in general. P. Z. says the real disaster for U.S. awards is ahead, when our failure to support science in research and graduate study starts to “pay off.”
Al Gore is a good guy, in my experience. He’s knowledgeable about a lot of things, he has foresight (we’d not have this internet but for Gore’s work to save it in its infancy), and he’s a mensch. Ah, for the things that could have been.
- Press release from the Norwegian Nobel Committee (full text below the fold)
- British court rules “Inconvenient Truth” a political film, with errors (ABC News story notable for its quoting of crank science advocates — are there no editors at ABC any more? Remember when I said science won out? The science deniers aren’t going quietly.)
- Chicago Tribune story
- Melbourne (Australia) Herald-Sun story
- Tom Friedman’s column in the New York Times, October 14, 2007, “Who will succeed Al Gore?”
- Eli Rabett’s view
- Creators Syndicate columnist contrasts Bush and Gore