I find Vice President Al Gore’s winning of the Nobel Peace Prize, for his work publicizing global warming and related environmental problems, to not sit well with me. I’m not alone in this. I have two problems with the award.
First, the award is supposed to go to people (or, more recently, institutions) that promote the idea of peace in the sense of preventing or ending wars and other kinds of political violence. If there is a relationship between environmental problems and political violence, it is indirect at best.
Second, the bulk of what Gore has presented as part of his campaign has been based on science that is not well-accepted as very likely to be correct; there is not yet the same kind of consensus on the issues of causation and reparability of environmental change as there is in other areas of science. The Nobel Peace Prize shouldn’t be given for a scientific achievement, much less one of questionable credibility. Gore and the scientists he works with seem to be right in terms of broad strokes (the Earth is warming up and there are serious problems that will arise out of that) might be right, but it’s one thing to observe a phenomenon and another to explain it. I’m not as convinced of the theories of causation, and the proposed “solutions,” that are part of Gore’s message.
In Gore’s defense, it’s possible that the Nobel Committee decided that no one has really done much to effectively resolve political violence in the past year or so, so they might as well make some other kind of political statement.