Peace out: Al Gore and the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shared the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007. Gore says he'll donate his share of the prize money to the Alliance for Climate Protection. Given the year he's had—his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, won an Oscar and The Assault on Reason was a best seller—he's become a favorite among Democrats to run for president. The two questions burning up the medium Al invented: Did he deserve the trophy or didn't he? And will he run or won't he?
Conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters gives no quarter to Oslo *: "For a group which hands out prestigious awards in scientific fields, one might think that the Nobel Committee might want to maintain its credibility on real science. It might also consider what this has to do with 'peace'. The Nobel committee has moved far afield from its original mandate to honor those who actually work to avoid armed conflict or to end it and have simply decided to use their award to promote a distinct political agenda."
And Rick Moran at Right-Wing Nuthouse fulminates: "[J]ust what has the Nobel Committee done by giving the prize to a man a British Court called an 'alarmist' just the other day? He is a man whose major achievement – his film Inconvenient Truth – has been debunked even by scientists who share his fears of climate change."
Nonpartisan Half Sigma digs up an old story on Gore's grades at Harvard and feels robbed: "Gore…had a D+ average in his two 'Natural Sciences' classes (which seem pretty bogus to me, kind of like 'rocks for jocks'). Half Sigma has Bs or B+s in two semesters of Chemistry and two semesters of Physics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (before he transferred to an Ivy League undergraduate school). What does this mean? It means Half Sigma is more qualified to talk about gases in the atmosphere than Al Gore. Someone should give me a Nobel Prize."
Melissa McEwan at Shakesville points out: "[T]here's no small irony in the fact that, thanks to Bush's energy and environmental policies over his two terms, there's even more need for the work Gore is doing and a longer, harder road for the people who are trying to fix this mess we're in." Good thing for him he has help: Nick Anthis at the Scientific Activist doesn't forget the other winner: "The IPCC…has played an integral role in gaging scientific opinion on global warming and translating this opinion into a document that is accessible to policy makers. Through its four assessment reports, the IPCC has demonstrated a growing scientific consensus behind the the science of global warming, while still discussing remaining areas of uncertainty."
Maybe so, but Oregonian Joe Duck doesn't consider global warming a top priority: "In fact due to the expense and difficulties involved a clear mind will conclude that we should implement cheap changes but forego the expensive changes in favor of devoting those resources to *current* catastrophic global conditions - generally these relate to poverty and health conditions in the developing world, but would also probably include work to alleviate the appalling conditions found in many American and European big city neighborhoods."
Onto the juicier political question. At the Hill's Pundits Blog, Brent Budowsky hears America singing for a Gore presidency: "I know it is fanciful, unrealistic and probably naive to believe in the greatest aspiration that America should choose its best possible president. But America has always had the Frank Capra quality of daring to dream, of looking at the stars and viewing the better angels of our nation." And liberal Robert Parry at the Smirking Chimp tosses out a dare: "[I]f Gore means what he says – that global warming is such a threat to the future of mankind that young people should throw their bodies in front of bulldozers – then the obvious question to him is: 'Why won't you submit to the personal unpleasantness of another presidential campaign so you can lead the fight to save the planet?' "
But Fester at the Newshoggers predicts no White House: "I also think that the Draft Gore folks will continue to be disappointed as I just do not see him getting into the race despite the fact that I would quickly move from happily undecided to a Gore partisan as being President does not make a whole lot of sense politically if one assumes that Gore is passionate about both media disintermediation and environmentalism. It is the lurking threat of endorsement and a potential future run that serves Gore poltically.'
At Huffington Post, where the news is the lead of the day, David Roberts envisions the "disaster": "He would own the climate change issue, so other candidates would have to start attacking him on it and distancing themselves from it. He'd be forced to spend his time discussing one piece of frenzied ephemera after another, instead of focusing on his animating passion. He'd end up in a bruising, demeaning battle, and winning some peace prize wouldn't shield him. The process of electing a president, like so many things in the U.S. today, has become small and petty."
"I wonder if this is, as they say, a 'teachable moment,' " writesNew York Times columnist John Tierney at Tierney Lab. "Should he skip the trip to Oslo, Norway, on a fuel-burning jet and instead accept the award by teleconference?... [A]s he pointed out in 'An Inconvenient Truth': 'Reducing air travel even by one or two flights per year can significantly reduce emissions'…Should Mr. Gore follow his own advice here?"