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News 12 Oct
Gore, scientists share Nobel Peace Prize
By Alexander G. Higgins, Associated Press Writer
Yahoo News 13 Oct 07
Gore: Award puts focus on global warming
By Seth Borenstein and Lisa Leff, Associated Press Writers
He spent decades trying to get the world to listen and believe as he did that global warming would destroy the planet unless people changed their behavior, and fast. But after former Vice President Al Gore and a host of climate scientists were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their warnings, Gore took only the briefest of bows on a live world stage. He avoided the issue of a U.S. presidential run to "get back to business" on "a planetary emergency."
"For my part, I will be doing everything I can to try to understand how to best use the honor and the recognition from this award as a way of speeding up the change in awareness and the change in urgency," Gore said at the offices of the Alliance For Climate Protection, a nonprofit he founded last year to engage citizens in solving the problem.
Gore shared the prize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations network of scientists. The scientific panel has explained the dry details of global warming in thousands of pages of footnoted reports every six years or so since 1990.
Gore, fresh from a near miss at winning the U.S. presidency in 2000, translated the numbers and jargon-laden reports into something people could understand. He made a slide show and went Hollywood. His documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" won two Academy Awards and has been credited with changing the debate in America about global warming.
"When he first started really working on the climate change issue, I remember he was ridiculed in the press and certainly by political opponents as some kind of kook out there in la-la land," said federal climate scientist Tom Peterson, an IPCC co-author. "It's delightful that he's sharing this and he deserves it well. And it's nice to have his work being vindicated."
If he felt any sense of triumph over the political and scientific critics who belittled or ignored his message, Gore did not betray it during his only public appearance Friday. He learned of his award at 2 a.m. while watching the live TV announcement — hearing his name amid the Norwegian — at his apartment in San Francisco.
Nine hours later, his tone was somber and his remarks brief. With his wife, Tipper, and four Stanford University climate scientists who were co-authors of the international climate report at his side, he referenced a recent report that concluded the ice caps at the North Pole are melting faster than previously thought and could be gone in 23 years without dramatic action.
Gore said he planned to donate his share of the $1.5 million prize to the nonprofit alliance he chairs.
"This is a chance to elevate global consciousness about the challenges that we face now," he said. "The alarm bells are going off in the scientific community."
In announcing the award earlier in the day in Oslo, Norway, Nobel committee chairman Ole Danbolt Mjoes said the prize was not a slap at the Bush administration's current policies. Instead, he said it was about encouraging all countries "to think again and to say what can they do to conquer global warming."
Gore is the first former vice president to win the Peace Prize since 1906 when Theodore Roosevelt, who by that time had become president, was awarded. Sitting Vice President Charles Gates Dawes won the prize in 1925. Former Presidents Jimmy Carter won it in 2002 and Woodrow Wilson in 1919.
From the late 1980s with his book "Earth in the Balance," Gore championed the issue of global warming. He had monthly science seminars on it while vice president and helped negotiate the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that called for cuts in greenhouse gases.
Since his loss to George W. Bush in 2000, he has traveled to more than 50 countries. He presented his slide show on global warming that became "An Inconvenient Truth" more than 1,000 times.
More than 20 top climate scientists told The Associated Press last year that the film was generally accurate in its presentation of the science, although some were bothered by what they thought were a couple of exaggerations.
Gore's movie was deeply personal. It was about him after losing the 2000 election and about his travels, and he talked about the changing climate in a personal way.
"He has honed that message in a way that many scientists are jealous of," said University of Michigan Dean Rosina Bierbaum. She was a top White House science aide to Gore and President Clinton. "He is a master communicator."
Climate scientists said their work was cautious and rock-solid, confirmed with constant peer review, but it didn't grab people's attention.
"We need an advocate such as Al Gore to help present the work of scientists across the world," said Bob Watson, former chairman of the IPCC and a top federal climate science adviser to the Clinton-Gore Administration.
Watson and Bierbaum, who regularly briefed Gore about global warming, described him as voracious, wanting to understand every detail about the science. Bierbaum recalled one Air Force Two journey with Gore and the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The man who beat Gore in 2000, President Bush, had no plans to call Gore to congratulate him. But spokesman Tony Fratto called it "an important recognition" for both Gore and the scientific panel.
Some in the shrinking community of global warming skeptics and those downplaying the issue, were dubious, however.
"I think it cheapens the Nobel Prize," said William O'Keefe, chief executive officer of the conservative science-oriented think tank the Marshall Institute. O'Keefe, a former oil industry executive and current consultant to fossil fuel firms, called Gore's work "rife with errors."
As he was leaving the alliance's office, Gore stopped to thank a few dozen people who waited in the rain to congratulate him, which included a group of young girls who brought him a banner reading, "Thank you for saving our planet."
Asked whether the Nobel would quiet climate naysayers, he said the award would help the cause of fighting global warming overall.
"I hope we have a chance to really kick into high gear."
Borenstein reported from Washington. Leff reported from Palo Alto. Science Writer Malcolm Ritter in New York contributed to this report.
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Yahoo News 12 Oct 07
Gore, scientists share Nobel Peace Prize
By Alexander G. Higgins, Associated Press Writer
Plenty of people share the glory of the Nobel Peace Prize — thousands of scientists have been studying and documenting climate change under a U.N. body set up in 1988 as concerns grew about global warming. And they hope the award will help — or prod — governments to do more to curb global warming or avert disasters on the scale of a Hurricane Katrina or the deadly effects of the 2003 heat wave that killed up to 35,000 people in Europe.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, named co-winner with former Vice President Al Gore in Oslo on Friday, has been cranking out reports that have built up knowledge "about the connection between human activities and global warming," said the Nobel prize committee.
"Mother Nature keeps helping us along because the evidence just keeps piling up," said Kevin Trenberth, a lead author on the 1995, 2001 and 2007 reports.
Trenberth, the New Zealand-born head of the climate analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., said he hopes the prize increases the impact of the explanations he and other scientists give to audiences ranging from town hall meetings to Congress.
"All the scientists that have contributed to the work of the IPCC are the Nobel laureates who have been recognized and acknowledged by the Nobel Prize Committee," said Rajendra Pachauri, the Indian engineer who chairs the panel.
"They should feel deeply encouraged and inspired. It is their contribution which has been recognized," said Pachauri. "I only happen to be a functionary that essentially oversees the process."
Leo Meyer, a climate and energy specialist with the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, said the award underscores the panel's role in encouraging policy makers to address the problem of climate change.
"There is still an important task of better explaining the findings of IPCC to a larger audience and this Nobel Prize of course helps to underline the credibility of the IPCC reports," Meyer told the AP.
Piers Forster from the School of Earth and Environment at England's University of Leeds said in a statement: "It's every scientist's dream to win a Nobel Prize, so this is great for myself and the hundreds that worked on their reports over the years. It's perhaps a little deflating though — that one man and his PowerPoint show has as much influence as the decades of dedicated work by so many scientists."
Associated Press writers Frank Jordans and Eliane Engeler contributed to this report.
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