From the Archives 10-12-2007

Friday, November 7, 2008

Al Gore and the International Panel on Climate Change win the Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change"

A few thoughts:

1. "[B]uild up" is an odd verb to use in this context; it can mean "hype," "puff," and "exaggerate" just as much as "strengthen" or "reinforce."

2. The second clause implicitly assumes that not only does man-made climate change decidedly exist, but that Al Gore and the IPCC know how to counteract it. Despite the overwhelming evidence that it does exist, man-made climate change is still debated among scientists; if the Nobel Prize committee wanted to take sides on a hot issue that has all of Science in agreement, why not give it to Richard Dawkins?

2.5. The Nobel Prize is awarded "for achievements," yet the second clause states that the Prize was given "to lay the foundations for...measures," so this year's Peace Prize is partly a grant, not an award. Therefore, the only "achievement" was making people aware of one side of a controversial topic. Evidently the committee believes it's better to raise awareness of an issue than to resolve it.

3. How does this promote peace?