Put Politics Aside and Celebrate Al Gore's Nobel Prize

Fri, 2007-10-12 08:06Jim Hoggan
Jim Hoggan's picture

Put Politics Aside and Celebrate Al Gore's Nobel Prize

First, our warmest congratulations to Al Gore. The Nobel Prize is one of the world's great honors and, in our view, one that is extremely well-deserved.

But I'm conscious that the standing ovation Gore is enjoying today is not exactly unanimous. The climate change conversation has become polarized - and belligerent - over the last decade. And Al Gore - a politician who dared to address a controversial public issue outside the conventional political process - has become a lightning rod for some hyper-political criticism. How can we get people from all points on the political spectrum to celebrate Gore's Nobel Prize without feeling that they are sacrificing their own cherished political interests?

It is, first of all, a shame that we have to ask such a question. It's a shame that North American society has grown so adversarial that it is impossible to congratulate a political opponent without appearing weak. It's also a shame that the fossil-fueled climate change deniers were originally so successful in defining global warming as a political issue. It's a shame that many Republicans agreed early on to ignore the science, reasoning simply that “if Al Gore's for it, then I must be against it.”

A lot of credit is owed to people like California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain for getting us past that political polarization. These smart and courageous men broke early from the Republican pack to salute science over self-interest.

But the Nobel committee seems to agree that an even larger portion of credit should go to Al Gore. In a public education and advocacy campaign unprecedented in history, Gore was instrumental in alerting North Americans to this global threat. He got our attention.

Of course, he was not working alone. If I may be allowed a personal aside, I'd like to credit the David Suzuki Foundation (full disclosure; I'm the Chair) which produced its first major climate change campaign in 1996. And, more obviously, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - a global scientific collaboration that is also unprecedented in human history - has done almost two decades of exemplary work in advancing our understanding of this issue, even as certain self-interested parties were trying to keep us locked in confusion.

Still, for all the effort that everyone else has expended, I think it's clear that, in the American conversation, Al Gore tipped the balance. For which we all should offer an unequivocal: Bravo!

But we won't. Too many of us, today, are brooding about this honor, entirely because of its political implications. Too many are arguing, for example, that Gore was “only” trying to use his climate change advocacy campaign as a stepping stone to a presidential run for 2009. Well, if Gore planned all this - if he planned to win an Oscar, write a best seller and capture the Nobel Prize by publicizing the risks of anthropogenic global warming - he may be smarter than any of us suspected. If he's that prescient, he might make quite a good president.

But you don't have to commit a hypothetical vote to Al Gore for president. You don't have to forgive him for not fighting harder for the White House in 2001. You don't have to abandon any of your own political preferences just because you stand up today, with the the Nobel committee and the whole world, and say, thanks Al. Thanks for the hard work. Thanks for the good judgment. Thanks for refusing to let Exxon's baffle brigade continue to sew doubt about this critical global issue.

We have not turned the corner on emission controls, but I believe this Nobel Prize will demonstrate that we have turned a corner on a dark time of dissembling and denial. North America has finally acknowledged the scientific consensus and joined the global political consensus. For which, once again, we should say: Thanks Al. And congratulations. Today, you deserve it.

Comments

F$%* Al Gore! He is the worst person to represent global warming. He naturally politicizes the issue. The inconsistencies of his film put him in the Michael Moore league of documentarians. Of course, I will now be put into the “fossil-fueled climate change deniers ” section. Climate change is happening and we need some real scientists to study why?

the real scientists HAVE studied why and are working away at the science all the time, fine-tuning and improving our understanding of the phenomenon. But without someone like Al Gore (who has never claimed to be a scientist) to raise global awareness they would be labouring in obscurity. Meanwhile governments like the Bush and Harper administrations would not be held accountable by the public for doing nothing to curtail GHG emissions. Without Gore and a few others like him, we’d be in a tailspin right now, with precious little time to pull out. It’s bad enough as it is!!!!

http://climatechange3000.blogspot.com

Al Gore should look into polar cities too!

I haven’t seen ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, but I have seen the slide-show
upon which the movie is apparently based.

Assuming the movie is similar to the slide-show what you say is quite untrue!

[http://fg.vp.video.l.google.com/videodownload?version=0&secure
url=uAAAABrlLjwMlnfaNOxOhGryyzCMLsYzEz2zVEb2njqNhdXWoIFsO2B5YvXHJbtgn5lCmu7ff
VZV_ulqwkayzw7flW989E4Pwfp5fK–jliUHyYKXDzTS1PDYDPbPlIjbnZKhhcLPkF8hSK9_vptgm
pcy5oaobAd93XXUOqPPbCl-AIzwRwrQb26cEVp7li7x5cE9E0Qtwgbnx0qP4aXxbeqbnJ2vzOIiNXLZ
lbm8UdUECU25J4jRoJ3yY32hSjz4KAEiQ&sigh=PjkyVlfPNfvsD-27LVDcSuyFZK0&begin=0&len=4
822667&docid=-2565436963450479963&rdc=1]

The text of his speech can be found at http://civic.moveon.org/gore3//speech.html

Al Gore is even-handed and non-political in his comments, I failed to noticed him differentiate between the policies of Republican and Democratic administrations - until and excepting the disastrous current Bush Administration that is! He then goes on to list the deceptions, lies and tactics of the industry lackies otherwise known as the Bush Administration.

It is the Bush Administration and their industry backers alone that have politicized climate change, not Al Gore! They have adopted the underhand tactics of the Tobacco industry and some of their paid representatives to spread lies and disinformation about the science.

None of the so-called deceptions featured in the slide-show, so I suspect that they never occurred in the movie and the claims will turn-out to be just yet more contrarian fallacies, lies and exaggerations! I’m sure there are far more contrarian lies to come.

Since the guys at RealClimate thought the move was generally correct but had one or two minor flaws. I went to check RealClimate but I received the following message
‘Error establishing a database connection. This probably means that the server is busy due to heavy traffic. Please try again later.’

Since DeSmogBlog gets DDoS attacks, I suspect that RealClimate might be currently under a DDoS attack, in the light of the Nobel Prize news, of course it just might be heavy traffic.
Now if it is a DDoS attack, I wonder who might be responsible?

Congratulations to the IPCC and Al Gore.

It is absolutely clear, that recognizing scientific consensus on climate change that George Bush acted in a timely fashion to show good support for the IPCC and its efforts, and doing something about about CO2.

Oops, that was George H. W. bush, and it was 1989:
http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/research/public_papers.php?id=1156&year=1989&month=11

Only nit is a typo (mis-scan) about devoting 0 million…

It is a reminder that politicization of science to the current extent is a recent (and very unwelcome) phenomenon.

Al Gore, congratulations on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Now it is time to announce your wish to become America’s president, take your seat in the White House, and be the leader we have all been waiting for to move beyond the corrupt system of Empire and towards Earth community. Kudos to the Nobel Committee for realizing that sustainability is peace.

The problem with that is that if he did throw his hat in now, the whole thing would collapse under cynical accusations that it was his goal all along to ride this hobbyhorse to the White House. It would also add fuel to the claim that AGW is all politics, not science. Gore has found an issue and a platform that transcend politics. He would be wise to distance himself from petty national politics and focus on the Big Picture.

Go AL!

The Nobel committee has further debased the currency of what once was a prestigious award. When they awarded it to Yasser Arafat, its stock went down. Now it has plunged further with this award to a man who deliberately crafted a movie that a British judge just this week ruled “assumes facts not in evidence”. That’s nice legal speak for “contains lies and distortions”.

Now Gore can expand his already considerable carbon footprint by jetting around the world bragging about his latest triumph. Oh wait. He will make things right by buying carbon offsets – from himself. What a fraud!

Don’t you think that if the legal speak meant what you suggest, then phrases like “broadly accurate” would not have been used to describe the movie? How do you explain the judge not ruling against it being shown in schools if it contains “lies”. Funny how when someone uses the word “lie” in connection to Tim Ball’s writings you throw a fit….

Tim Ball’s lies, the notion that anyone can make sense of what he says is even better. He contradicts himself all the time, is he lieing to himself perhaps?

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/Page/document/video/vs?id=RTGAM.20071012.wvgreenpeacegore1012

Congratulations to Al Gore and the IPCC panel for finally getting the recognition they deserve in their attempt to educate and take action on global warming.

The IPCC is a very large group of scientists from various countries and disciplines. It looks as though there are a lot of real scientists all ready studying why global warming is happening. Al Gore is not a scientist. Scientists make poor orators. Al Gore is delivering the message in a way that everyone can understand.

It may be true that in recent years the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to a few individuals who really didn’t deserve it. But this is not one of those instances.

The British judge who decided that An Inconvenient Truth contained errors “in the context of alarmism and exaggeration”, reached his conclusions using erroneous data. When I first read this story I wasn’t at all surprised by this conclusion. But, as I read through the nine points of “inaccuracy” it became clear to me that this was an attempt to not only discredit this documentary but also Al Gore himself. It appears as though this judge has taken some of the same data that anthropogenic global warming deniers use as scientific fact, to pass judgment against Al Gore and his attempt to increase awareness of the growing threat of global warming. That would mean that the judge has come to his conclusion in a fraudulent manner, unless he wasn’t aware of the fallacy of the data he was using.

Once again personal attacks against the messenger are used to “prove” that the message is nothing more than “extremist alarmism”. Al Gore is “jetting” around the world to raise awareness of the threat of global warming everywhere.

Yes he is contributing to the very thing he is talking about but he’s not alone.

Stop the warming!

cyb3r_ph4ntom
The Closet Environmentalist http://polarbearadventures.blogspot.com/

“It appears as though this judge has taken some of the same data that anthropogenic global warming deniers use as scientific fact, to pass judgment against Al Gore and his attempt to increase awareness of the growing threat of global warming”.

The claimant’s “expert” witness was Bob Carter, the well known Australian AGW denier.

I don’t understand why the defendants (the UK government) didn’t question this.

Ian Forrester

Kids, being what they are, are now more likely to take Gore’s film seriously, now that someone has told them they can’t watch it in school!

The judge didn’t ban the Gore sci-fi film from classroom viewing. He said it could be shown but there must be caveats. Teachers must explain that there is no scientific validity to much of what is in the film and that the science connected to so-called global warming is not settled.

Sounds about right to me. These are the sort of contextual explanations that should accompany any piece of propaganda shown to impressionable young people.

Such as the Great Global Warming Swindle, Global Warming: Doomsday Called Off and many other “highly informative and scientifically accurate” documentaries.

To quote, “These are the sort of contextual explanations that should accompany any piece of propaganda shown to impressionable young people.”

I agree that this sort of warning should be on all propaganda videos.

The only question is, who decides which ones get it and which ones don’t? cyb3r_ph4ntom

The ‘new” UK. government is stacked with former heads of business and lobby groups.
These new ministers now have control over the very agencies they used to oppose. Their mandate is to further the needs of big industry at any cost. This ruling was “tailor” made to further their cause.

The Bush administration has been doing this since day one.
In Canada Stephen Harper has recently been more open about this practice, and the UK. government of Gordon Brown is now at it as well.

Not only is this practice destructive environmentally, it is an erosion of democracy. cyb3r_ph4ntom

Ian, The Goracle had this comment on his Nobel laureate: “The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity. It is also our greatest opportunity to lift global consciousness to a higher level.”

Regardless of how the British judge arrived at his decision, in the end he simply agreed with Al. “An Inconvenient Truth” is not about science.

that the Nobel committee stated that AGW is not a POLITICAL issue. They were not saying that it isn’t about science, but rather that the implications of the science will challenge us as a species in moral and spiritual ways as we look for solutions. By recognizing the work of the IPCC in this joint award, the Nobel Committee has acknowledged that both the science and informing the public about the science are hugely important.

And the judge in the Dimmock challenge found that AIT was broadly accurate. Read the whole decision carefully.

“And the judge in the Dimmock challenge found that AIT was broadly accurate. Read the whole decision carefully.” – Femack

Yeah, that’s why he pointed out 11 scientific errors in the movie.

Have a look. If you are serious about informing yourself thoroughly on the issue, check this out:

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/10/an_error_is_not_the_same_thing.php

In a nutshell, “There were nine [not 11] points where [Judge] Burton decided that AIT differed from the IPCC and that this should be addressed in the Guidance Notes for teachers to be sent out with the movie… Where political issues are involved there should be “a balanced presentation of opposing views” so Burton states that the government should make it clear when “there is a view to the contrary, i.e. (at least) the mainstream view”. Burton calls these “errors or departures from the mainstream”.

So contrary to all the reporters’ claims Burton did not find that there were 9 scientific errors in AIT, but that there were nine points that might be errors or where differing views should be presented for balance.”

This is a far cry from finding that there were factual errors in AIT.

See:
http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/10/an_error_is_not_the_same_thing.php

which is a careful analysis of what the judge said and didn’t say.

I think you’re being a little harsh on the judge. There are knowledgable people who thought that overall AIT was quite good in representing the current science, but there were a few minor soft spots. [I thought the same.]

If we’re lucky, the foofaraw may help educate people about denialists, and actually help educate students in critical thinking. When I was in high school, we used sets of history books that were deliberately picked to disagree with each, which was terribly confusing to people that expected perfect truth in any one place … but overall, really educational.

Congratulations to former US Vice-President Al Gore for the recognition he has received for bringing the climate change message to the people.

Congratulations to Jim Hoggan and all Desmogblog staff for their perseverance and respect for science and the environment.

A mountain of kudos to Desmogblog for continually taking the climate message further, clarifying the issues, bring new findings to our attention, and exposing the cynics, ignorant or otherwise, who try to twist questions regarding the quality of the environment into political and personal gain.

Dan Johnson,
Professor of Environmental Science,
University of Lethbridge,
Alberta, Canada. dan.johnson@uleth.ca

BTW, Dan, thanks for holding fast & forcing Tim Ball to back down. I got a good laugh out of that conclusion.

Ohh….I think we all did, glad things concluded that way but there should have never been a lawsuit to start with.

Thanks. It was worth it.

http://climatechange3000.blogspot.com

Dan, did you ever hear about or think about idea of POLAR CITIES? google or wiki the term. email me at
danbloom gmail

In general, it seems inevitable that where limiting factors decrease (and others don’t pop up next in line), development will expand, and where limiting factors become more severe, development rates will slow or reverse. This holds as long as markets, resources, transportation access and regulation allow. The interesting questions are when and how well it will be planned. I guess that applies to every region (although big islands that are already heavily populated don’t have so much choice…).

Thanks for the link to the Malkin commentary. Hilarious. One of the ‘shocking’ revelations:

“And what about Alfred Nobel, the founder? What did he do to forward the cause of ‘peace’? He invented dynamite. That’s right! Not only did Nobel invent the modern-day explosive, he benefited richly from it.”

Talk about “not clear on the concept”.

I guess the history of the Nobel prize is all new to the blogger.

With envy

Not since Yasser Arafat has there been a more appropriate Nobel Peace prize choice.

As has been noted, nowadays a Nobel Peace prize carries all the weight of a letter from Ed McMahon and Publishers Clearing House.

We can all look forward to George W. Bush Jr. being awarded the Prize for Environmental Vandalism.

No doubt the Brave Mr. Dot either has a whole wall full of such awards, or a good reason why the rest of the world conspires to ignore him.

“We can all look forward to George W. Bush Jr. being awarded the Prize for Environmental Vandalism.”

Presumably the point you are trying to make is that George Bush is equally deserving of your imaginary award, as Gore is deserving of any “peace” prize.

Good one!

My comment was intended to emphasise the enormous difference between ‘Hail to the thief’ George Bush, whose claim to fame is that first he stole the election, and ever since he has been busy aiding his industry pals to destroy the environment. Whereas Al Gore has made it his business to educate the public about the dangers of climate change. Bush deserves our derision, while Gore deserves our applause.

You are wrong about Al Gore not deserving the peace prize.

The effects of climate change are already being seen, just consider the reductions in precipitation feeding some of the world’s great rivers. Even a TROLL has enough imagination to envisage the likely consequences of increasing water shortages. Conflict is sure to result! If we cap our emissions, the worst effects of climate change could be averted. Al Gore is part of this!

http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=3723754

” The climate change conversation has become polarized - and belligerent - over the last decade.”

Hmm, that’s odd. I wonder how that happened? You’d think shrilly denouncing your critics as “denierists”, and shouting them down by insinuating they are in the pay of “big oil”(tm), would invite (cough-cough) “conversation”?

“It is, first of all, a shame that we have to ask such a question. It’s a shame that North American society has grown so adversarial that it is impossible to congratulate a political opponent without appearing weak.”

That’s a pretty brazen statement, coming from Diamond Jim Hoggan – who’s PR company’s website (this one) is absolutely solely devoted to promoting this adversarialism, of which he now pretends to decry.

Hoggan pretends befuddlement at the failure of universal bowing and scraping before a huckster like Gore. It puts me in mind of the bewilderment members of The People’s Temple must have felt, when confronted with skepticism about Jim Jones.

Oh, look. It’s Mr. Dot again.

The recent much hyped UK Judgement about An Inconvenient Truth was both FLAWED and MISREPORTED!

For the facts, see Tim Lambert’s point by point dissection [link below] and a link to the actual judgement.

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/10/an_error_is_not_the_same_thing.php

Tim Lambert also names and shames the journalists who got it wrong!

The far-right’s prejudice against any global warming mumbo-jumbo stems from a perception that talk of global warming was just a ruse from the far-left to interfere with free enterprise. However, that extreme view is getting a makeover as the chorus of scientific voices begin to harmonize upon the same tune: the Earth’s getting warmer, and humans are likely contributing to the situation. All it will take to start approaching the problem a little more rationally is for a leading member of the far-right to retreat from this particular battlefront. I have to believe that the soldiers out there still loyally denying global warming would welcome a transfer to another, more productive zone.

“The far-right’s prejudice against any global warming mumbo-jumbo stems from a perception that talk of global warming was just a ruse from the far-left to interfere with free enterprise.”

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck …
It’s reality, not a perception. Amusing, though, that your complaint is the “far-right” should keep a more open mind to mumbo-jumbo!

Not sure what this mythical “far-right” you refer to consists of. I’m guessing that’s your epithet for anyone even slightly more conservative than Che Guevarra, since you evidently believe the chief characteristic of the “far-right” is support for free enterprise.

You are wrong when you say that environmentalism is something originating from left wing politics. Nothing could be further from the truth. Historically, socialists care nothing for the environment. However, it is well known that socialists of every stripe began co-opting and subverting environmentalism not too long after the Berlin Wall fell, futily seeking regain any relevance in the modern world. How’s that working out for you?

“However, that extreme view is getting a makeover as the chorus of scientific voices begin to harmonize upon the same tune: the Earth’s getting warmer, and humans are likely contributing to the situation.”

Only one problem with that – the opposite is happening. So ironically, that is merely your perception. Climate alarmists are coming under increasing scrutiny and their claims are being increasingly exposed as simply bad science.

…Historically, socialists care nothing for the environment. However, it is well known that socialists of every stripe began co-opting and subverting environmentalism not too long after the Berlin Wall fell, futily seeking regain any relevance in the modern world. How’s that working out for you?…

Wow, what hogwash! Did you pick this nonsense up from some denialist site, or do you just simply make it up? If not, provide evidence.

In case you are too young to have remembered, VJ, the apalling environmental stewardship of the socialists who ran Eastern Europe from 1945 to about 1990 supports the contention that being socialist doesn’t automatically translate into environmental caring. These wonderful lovers of humankind could have cared less about poisoning the air and water people use.

It is also a fact that the looney left of the West embraced environmentalism as their best hope to hobble free enterprise after the fall of the Soviet Empire eliminated any faint hope that this task would be accomplished from that quarter.

for about 40 years, I take exception to your characterization of us as a bunch of band-wagon jumpers. Environmentalism has been a part of my life since I had a life, thank you very much! And as for Eastern Europe, you are betraying a very simple-minded world view if you think it had any similarities whatsoever with the movement for social support and responsibility that has developed here in Canada.

This isn’t about politics, it’s about lack of imagination and the will to develop alternative systems & technologies that will ultimately benefit everyone. If the folks in the oil patch had any kind of foresight, they’d have figured out ages ago that they can profit by getting in on the ground floor of those technologies, rather than being dragged in kicking & screaming, suffering a real hit to their public relations along the way. Phew! That wore me out. I’m going to walk the dogs and plot world domination now.

“And as for Eastern Europe, you are betraying a very simple-minded world view if you think it had any similarities whatsoever with the movement for social support and responsibility that has developed here in Canada.”

Now who’s the denieralist? You are very naive to imagine that North American socialist groups never had any direct links, funding, and other support from the Soviet Union. But then, I’m only going by what de-classified KGB and Stasi files tell us.

“This isn’t about politics, it’s about lack of imagination and the will to develop alternative systems & technologies that will ultimately benefit everyone.”

Heh. I guess it’s that same “lack of imagination” which has denied us the “benefits” of a centrally-planned economy and a gulag system to deal with political dissenters (or, deniers, if you prefer).

I started to respond, but I won’t dignify your remarks by trying to counter them.

From what I’ve seen, I doubt any attempt on your part to counter my statements is neccessary to confer them with dignity. To the contrary, it would further deprive you of yours. So, good call.

Can’t be bothered, more like.

What a sad, frightened little person you are

Odd that you can’t be bothered to make a coherent argument, and yet you can be bothered to make childish personal insults. Par for the course.

Thanks – yet again – for demonstrating my point.

Pages

[x]

This is a guest post by David Suzuki

What if we could reduce worldwide deaths from disease, starvation and disaster while improving the health of people everywhere? According to the World Health Organization, we can.

Previously unrecognized health benefits could be realized from fast action to reduce climate change and its consequences,” says a news release about WHO’s first global conference on health and climate in...

read more