October 12, 2007

Nobel Laurelate Al Gore

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.


Michael said...

I agree that Gore might better be honored in some other forum but my concern is that he be listed with people like Arafat or George Bush. However you play the ball as it lies.
He has been concerned about this and other environmental topics at least since 1969 (in N.C.)
I have been an Environmental Scientist and Systems Ecologist for 40 years. I know for a fact that 1,200 (last count in 2005)top scientists support the data we have.

zzi said...

[... my concern is that he be listed with people like Arafat or George Bush.]

I'm sorry but Bush didn't win a Nobel Prize, are you thinking of Carter?
or this:


Mr. Gore was Vice President from 1993 up to Jan 2001 and I don't remember him speaking about or doing anything concerning global warming.

iescience said...

Transplanted, I'm so sad that you, along with thousands of others, are so tragically uninformed. Really, research before you post. You might want to start here.

Burt Likko said...

May, I'm so sad that you haven't taken the time to actually read what I wrote. If you had, you'd realize that I am quite sympathetic to the cause of environmental awareness and protection, and that I am far from a disbeliever in global warming. I'm also very sad that you insist on lockstep ideological adherence to a pre-set dogma. If you read my blog posts on this and similar points, including this post from today, you will find a much more nuanced picture than your "blog action day" scan would lead you to believe with a seconds-long glance at a single post suggesting that St. Albert and his approach might be susceptible to some criticism. But I've not ever contested the fact of global warming, and only recently suggested that alternative sources of electricity must be explored to alleviate the problem, which is obviously growing more serious every day. But then again, it's so much easier and fun to pigeonhole people into predetermined categories of "liberal" and "conservative" and plop black and white hats on them, isn't it?