nobel sell-out?

Posted on October 14, 2007


I like Al Gore and have nothing against him.

I also like the premise behind the Nobel Prizes, especially the Peace Prize.

But is the Nobel winners’ selection committee getting it wrong in awarding the Peace Prize to Gore and the United Nations climate change panel?

No doubt Gore’s efforts and his movie that wowed Hollywood, “An Inconvenient Truth” were better-received than in Gore’s wildest dreams. And it is admirable the effort he has thrown behind a worthy cause.

Yet, was Gore’s win a true endorsement of his work in promoting awareness in the dangers of global warming and the human factor in making things deteriorate, or was it a cynical move by the Nobel committee?

For starters, Gore’s triumph has been viewed as a dig at George W. Bush and his administration, not only because of their rejection of various international treaties involving action against global warming and environmental damage, but its general direction, such as the war of terror and against Iraq.

While Gore’s Oscar-winning documentary was powerful and moved many towards the cause of environmental protection, the facts and figures quoted in the movie have also faced criticisms from eminent scientists for various inaccuracies. And despite all the excitement and the jumping-on-the-bandwagon phenomenon by Hollywood types, has much been done by governments worldwide to really tackle climate change and its consequences?

Another area of concern – is the Nobel committee getting starry-eyed and concentrating on awarding the Peace Prize to famous people, but who haven’t done very much to really resolve or find solutions to the causes that they have been associated with? Cases in point – Yasser Arafat, Kofi Annan, Kim Dae Jung and Mohamed Elbaradei.

Finally, it is the Peace Prize but one wonders if awarding the prize for an environmental issue qualifies for the Peace element of the prize. The committee, in the defense of its choice, pointed out that changes in the environment could result in conflicts in different parts of the world and social upheavals.

Having said all that, the Prize is no doubt a tremendous personal victory for Gore, vindicating him for working hard for a cause before it was fashionable to be associated with. He is an example to those who have lost, showing the world that he hasn’t let the 2000 election that was stolen from him get him down and has instead gone out and worked on bigger causes, making a comeback in the most remarkable, and spectacular way.

Let’s hope the award will wake governments up from their stupor to the facts of the dangers of climate change and global warming, and spur them into action before things get even worse.