Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, it happened.
The Nobel Peace Prize 2007 has been awarded to a guy dedicated to telling us how bad we are for the environment, and what disasters we have spelled upon us.
Each year the Nobel Prizes are awarded to people and organizations who have made considerable contributions to their field of expertise.
A total of six prizes is available: Nobel Prizes in Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Economics, Literature and Peace.
The first three of them are undisputed, every year the prizes for Medicine, Physics and Chemistry are awarded to people who have definitely made a considerable contribution to their profession. Also, this contribution has been validated and recognized by their peers and the official committee from Danish universities. Also, the laureates have been proposed by their peers, which acts as a great filter for any less important proposals.
The grey area starts with the prize for Economics, where there has been some controversial awarding in the past, and the award is always a little political. The "left" wing, or keynesians argue when the "right" wing of monetary economics get an award, or vice versa. Economists think despite this that, even though the laureate comes from "the other side" the quality of the work is and has been high. The Nobel Prize for Literature often seems to be awarded with regards to other qualities besides the ones named: race, skin color, origination and sex often appear to play a role.
The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize however is different. The list of laureates brings us to this notion: Palestine rebel leader Yasser Arafat (1994), former president of the USA Jimmy Carter (2002) or even former president of the USA Henry Kissinger (1973).
What have they done for global peace? Arafat who led a pack of Palestine terrorists to fight for their right to use the same land as the Israeli? Or Kissinger who was jointly responsible for the killings of hundreds of thousands Cambodians in 1969 and 1970?
This list is topped by the most recent laureate: environmentalist Al Gore.
He advocates accountable use of our environment to preserve that what is left of our world for future generations. In fact, a very nice goal, although judges in the UK have rules that schoolchildren in the UK must be presented a warning not to believe everything that is being said in Gore’s movie "An Inconvenient Truth". Gore kind of overdoes it with this movie, so to speak.
It holds a (part of a) truth, but exaggerates and dramatizes the facts and possible results. For example: Gore tells us the sea-level will rise 6 or 7 meters when the icecap over Greenland completely melts. This is true, as there are staggering amounts of water being stored there by nature, Gore however fails to tell us that research done by the IPCC reports that the melting would take a considerable time, up to several thousands of years.
The biggest problem of the awarding of Gore might very well be that the entire world now thinks global warming is the biggest threat to our world. Yes, it is a threat that could have considerable implications; it still is not clear whether we have a lot to do with this global warming, or even if global warming is occurring at all.
People tend to forget that there are other, maybe equally important issues to be solved in the world nowadays.
The battle against malaria, or the fact that hundreds of millions of people still don’t have clean, fresh water at their disposal; money spent on the environmental issues like the one described in the Kyoto Protocol could be spent otherwise to resolve these two.
In this light: Al Gore might even be a threat to world peace.
Quite a few conflicts reside around (the lack of) water, and he is diverging our attention to the real problems that have to be solved for us to live peacefully together on our green and blue planet.