The scientists and the politician turned activist. I suspect the Nobel Committee thought long and hard about the pairing, the order and the issue of climate change before making today's announcement. That one of the world's most trusted and reputable institutions came out and endorsed the work of the IPCC and Gore is a sign of how far we've come on global warming.
From the Times Online:
Ten years ago the idea that the world was warming up, with potentially disastrous consequences, was still hugely contested.
People who installed energy-saving lightbulbs or put on another jumper instead of turning up the thermostat were dismissed as part of the tree-hugging fringe movement.
But the science of climate change has advanced enormously in the past decade and gradually the sceptics have been silenced as their objections were answered.
Well, actually, "silenced" is not quite the right word (as the Times points out). Well funded climate change deniers continue to fight a rear guard action, trying to delay the energy revolution that I think even they must know is inevitable.
But over the years the climate change deniers have looked more and more willfully ignorant, or been forced by overwhelming scientific evidence to admit the reality. Even George Bush now admits global warming is real and a threat. (His latest strategy is to push for non-binding "aspirational" CO2 reduction targets, as opposed to anything real and legally binding.)
Much thanks to the scientists who have put in thousands and thousands of hours of work to get us to the state of knowledge we're at today. And much thanks to Gore, for enduring the attacks, sticking it out and showing the way.
I hope world leaders will have the courage to listen to the science when they meet in Bali later this year to decide what government's next steps on climate change will be. For guidance, they could do well to listen also to the Nobel Prize Committee's statement today:
By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 to the IPCC and Al Gore, the Norwegian Nobel Committee is seeking to contribute to a sharper focus on the processes and decisions that appear to be necessary to protect the world’s future climate, and thereby to reduce the threat to the security of mankind.
Action is necessary now, before climate change moves beyond man’s control.