Gore basks in Nobel Prize glory | VailDaily.com

Gore basks in Nobel Prize glory

Doug MellgrenVail, Colorado

OSLO, Norway – He suffered through a divisive loss in an oh-so-close bid for the U.S. presidency.But on Monday, Al Gore basked in the vindication of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for his campaign against global warming.”Seven years ago … I read my own political obituary in a judgment that seemed to me harsh and mistaken – if not premature,” Gore said in his acceptance speech, two days short of the anniversary of the 2000 Supreme Court decision that put George W. Bush in the White House.”But that unwelcome verdict also brought a precious if painful gift: an opportunity to search for fresh new ways to serve my purpose,” Gore added.The former vice president shared the Nobel with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for sounding the alarm over global warming and spreading awareness on how to counteract it. The U.N. panel was represented at the ceremony by its leader, Rajendra Pachauri.Gore’s name is now etched in Nobel history among the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa.Already an Oscar-winner for his climate-change documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” Gore has found the peace prize giving him an even larger platform to spread his message about global warming and the need to rein in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.”I am under no illusions that there is any position in the world with as much potential for influencing the future as that of president of the United States,” he told The Associated Press before accepting the award.”But that was not to be, and I am grateful I have found a way to play a useful role in helping to form the world’s resolve to solve this crisis.”In his Nobel acceptance speech, Gore urged the United States and China – the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases – to take the lead on climate change “or stand accountable before history for their failure to act.”He said it was time for humanity to rise up against a looming climate crisis.”It is time to make peace with the planet,” Gore said. “We must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency and resolve that has previously been seen only when nations mobilized for war.”Gore urged government officials at a U.N. climate conference in Bali, Indonesia, to prepare the ground for quick negotiations on an emissions-limitation treaty to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on global warming.Gore and Pachauri will leave for the U.N. meeting Wednesday. “I will urge the delegates in Bali to adopt a bold mandate for a treaty,” Gore said.The Bush administration opposed the Kyoto pact, saying it would hurt the U.S. economy and objecting that fast developing nations like China and India were not required to reduce emissions.Gore told AP he believes the president elected next November will have to shift course.”The new president, whichever party wins the election, is likely to have to change the position on this climate crisis,” Gore said. “I do believe the U.S., soon, is to have a more constructive role.”During an appearance on British Broadcasting Corp.’s “Hard Talk” program, Gore noted climate change has not been a big issue in the U.S. campaign. But he said he was “far more optimistic now than I’ve ever been before” because he felt more and more people are coming to adopt his view of global warming’s threat.”We’re close to it, we’re not there yet, but we’re getting closer and closer to it,” Gore said.Gore told the BBC that he hoped the new climate treaty will impose a global cap on greenhouse gas emissions, and he said businesses should be taxed on the amount of gases they emit.He also called on wealthy nations to build “a constructive partnership” with poorer countries to spread the availability of technology being designed to reduce gas emissions and improve energy efficiency.In his Nobel acceptance speech, Gore drew a parallel between leaders who ignore the climate crisis and those who didn’t act as Nazi Germany rearmed before World War II.”Too many of the world’s leaders are still best described in the words Winston Churchill applied to those who ignored Adolf Hitler’s threat: ‘They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent,”‘ Gore said.He likened the current “planetary emergency” to wartime. “We must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency and resolve that has previously been seen only when nations mobilized for war,” he said.Although Pachauri described the threat largely in measured, scientific terms, he warned of a grim fate if greenhouse gases emissions are not limited. A warming climate could lead to swamped coastlines, disruptions to food supply, spread of disease and loss of biodiversity, he said.”Neglect in protecting our heritage of natural resources could prove extremely harmful for the human race and for all species that share common space on Planet Earth,” Pachauri said in his acceptance speech. “It is within the reach of human society to meet these threats.”Before presenting the award to Gore and Pachauri, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel awards committee, Ole Danbolt Mjoes, praised them for moving climate to the top of the world agenda.”We thank you for what you have done for Mother Earth,” Mjoes said.Gore’s wife, Tipper, in the audience with their four children, smiled broadly when he accepted the award, which includes a $1.6 million stipend to be shared equally between the two winners. The audience, including Norway’s King Harald V and Queen Sonja, rose for sustained applause.The Nobel Prizes, first awarded in 1901, are presented each year on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of their creator, Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel.In Stockholm, the winners of the other Nobel prizes received their awards from Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and were feted at a white-tie banquet in city hall.The 2007 awards in medicine, chemistry and physics honored breakthroughs in stem cell research on mice, solid-surface chemistry and the discovery of a phenomenon that lets computers and digital music players store reams of data on ever-shrinking hard disks.Three U.S. economists shared the economics award for their work on how people’s knowledge and self-interest affect their behavior in the market or in social situations such as voting and labor negotiations.One of the economics winners, Leonid Hurwicz, 90, and the literature prize winner, 88-year-old British author Doris Lessing, were unable to attend. They will receive their awards at later ceremonies in Minnesota and Britain.—On the Net:Nobel Foundation: http://nobelprize.orgNobel Peace Prize site: http://nobelpeaceprize.org

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