Al Gore and UN win Nobel prize

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The Independent Online

Former US vice president Al Gore has shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it was announced today.

The judges recognised their efforts to compile and spread knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures to fight it.

Gore, who won an Academy Award earlier this year, had been widely tipped to win the prize.

"His strong commitment, reflected in political activity, lectures, films and books, has strengthened the struggle against climate change," the citation from the panel in Norway said.

"He is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted."

Climate change has been at the top of the world agenda this year. The UN climate panel has been releasing its reports; talks on a replacement for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate are set to resume; and on Europe's northern fringe, where the awards committee works, concern about the melting Arctic has been underscored by this being International Polar Year.

In recent years, the Norwegian committee has broadened its interpretation of peacemaking and disarmament efforts outlined by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel in creating the prize with his 1895 will.

The prize now often also recognises human rights, democracy, elimination of poverty, sharing resources and the environment.

It said that Gore, who won his Oscar for the film An Inconvenient Truth, "has for a long time been one of the world's leading environmentalist politicians" and cited his awareness at an early stage "of the climatic challenges the world is facing.

The committee cited the IPCC for its two decades of scientific reports that have "created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming. Thousands of scientists and officials from over one hundred countries have collaborated to achieve greater certainty as to the scale of the warming."

It went on to say that because of its efforts global warming has been increasingly recognised. In the 1980s it "seemed to be merely an interesting hypothesis, the 1990s produced firmer evidence in its support. In the last few years, the connections have become even clearer and the consequences still more apparent."

This week a British judge criticised An Inconvenient Truth and highlighted "nine scientific errors" the documentary.

The judge said some of the errors had arisen in "the context of alarmism and exaggeration" to support the former US vice-president's thesis on global warming.

He made his comments after the British government's decision to show the film in secondary schools was objected to by one school governor who made a legal challenge claiming it was "propaganda".

Mr Justice Burton ruled at London's High Court that the film could be shown in schools as part of a climate change resource pack, but only if it was accompanied by new guidance notes to balance Mr Gore's "one-sided" views.