Gore’s efforts aren’t Nobel enough

The Nobel prizes are awarded annually in the categories of medicine, chemistry, peace, literature, physics and economics and are valued as a great honour; they represent the recognition of significant achievement in their particular fields. This week, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for their contribution to environmental awareness and the anti-climate change cause.

Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, was hailed as one of 2006’s best films and gave momentum to the global warming movement—Gore now travels worldwide lending his voice to the cause and was a key organizer of this summer’s Live Earth concert series held on five continents.

Gore’s receipt of the prize hasn’t been as widely accepted as his movie, and legitimately so. The distinguished connotations of a Nobel Prize don’t apply to Gore’s accomplishments to his professed cause, especially because Gore was hardly a proclaimed environmentalist two years ago. Most Nobel Prize Laureates have dedicated their life, or a large portion of it, to researching and uncovering a solution to their field. Gore, on the other hand, is essentially an amateur in his field and his contribution—most notably a film in which he’s the effective star and the Earth plays a supporting role—is less than innovative.

Gore’s input largely comes in the form of glamourizing global warming rather than in creating actual change. The data laid out in An Inconvenient Truth isn’t new or groundbreaking—it’s the product of decades of research that Gore grossly simplified, spun into a fancy PowerPoint that he presented in person on camera and then bundled up for mass distribution.

The good intentions are there—Gore seems to recognize the urgency of climate change and seeks to expose it to the rest of the world. Whether his efforts are worthy of a Nobel Prize is doubtful, however: Gore’s sensationalism of legitimate climate-change concerns may not only misinform but also runs the risk of turning environmentalism into just another fad.

By handing Gore this award, the Nobel Foundation has implied that global warming is an issue that has been tackled and doesn’t require much attention anymore. Additionally, the Nobel Foundation has now effectively thrown its name behind him and any future presidential candidacy he may launch.

Although climate change as a world issue is deserving of the attention this will bring it, the inconvenient truth about this award is simple: Gore wasn’t the worthiest candidate and the award should have gone to a real advocate for change—not an environmental celebrity.

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