Friday, October 12, 2007


Gore and the Nobel

Former US Vice President Albert Gore, Jr. shares the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the United Nations (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), announced by the Nobel Prize Committee, as reported by Associated Press. The Nobel Committee recognized Gore and the IPCC “for their efforts to spread awareness of man-made climate change and to lay the foundations for fighting it.”

The AP report quotes Gore as Prophet:

"We face a true planetary emergency. ... It is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity," he said. "It is also our greatest opportunity to lift global consciousness to a higher level."

Amazingly, the AP finds sources with rhetorical effusion in excess of the grandiloquent Gore:

Kenneth Sherrill, a political scientist at Hunter College in New York said Gore probably enjoys being a public person more than an elected official.

"He seems happier and liberated in the years since his loss in 2000. Perhaps winning the Nobel and being viewed as a prophet in his own time will be sufficient," says Sherrill.

Two Gore advisers, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to share his thinking, said the award will not make it more likely that he will seek the presidency.

Conservatives may enjoy lampooning Gore as Prophet-at-Large, but when progressives use the term, they apparently intend a fair amount of reverence. This could be due to an over-secularization of Western elites, who can no longer recognize any true spirituality, or the public’s appalling lack of basic scientific understanding, or both.

Either way, to the religiously inclined but scientifically challenged among world elites, Gore’s the leading Citizen of the World:

In its citation, the committed lauded Gore's "strong commitment, reflected in political activity, lectures, films and books, has strengthened the struggle against climate change. He is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted."

Ole Danbolt Mjoes, chairman of the prize committee, said the award should not be seen as singling out the Bush administration for criticism.

"A peace prize is never a criticism of anything. A peace prize is a positive message and support to all those champions of peace in the world."

How could anyone consider the work of the Nobel Committee political? They consider candidates on how well they champion specific policy goals and political outcomes, they laud those who value International norms above National interests, and they honor most those candidates who can best help achieve a specific legislative agenda. That’s political? That’s beneath the dignity of the Nobel Committee to even consider, tut tut.

The AP should be credited for a better characterization of the US history with the Kyoto Protocol than that usually afforded in Western media, but even here, the AP distorts the chronology to unfairly highlight President Bush:

Bush abandoned the Kyoto Protocol because he said it would harm the U.S. economy and because it did not require immediate cuts by countries like China and India. The treaty aimed to put the biggest burden on the richest nations that contributed the most carbon emissions.

The U.S. Senate voted against mandatory carbon reductions before the Kyoto negotiations were completed. The treaty was never presented to the Senate for ratification by the Clinton Administration.

"Al Gore has fought the environment battle even as vice president," Mjoes said. "Many did not listen ... but he carried on."

In mentioning Kyoto, they lead with how Bush abandoned the protocol. They then mention that the US Senate (in an extreme majority) voted (in 1998) to instruct Congress not to approve the Kyoto Protocol. This all happened years before Bush took office, and Clinton never pushed the Senate to ratify, which the Senate clearly would have rejected. Note the last remark, and consider that then President Clinton was among those who “did not listen.”

Still, the AP has been more forthright than usual. Perhaps with the possibility of another Clinton Administration, and another renegotiation of Kyoto, friendly media types want to downplay former Clinton and Democrat Party dishonesty about Bush “scuttling” Kyoto.

The joint award for Gore and the IPCC also acknowledges how like-minded are Gore and the board members of the Nobel Committee. Apparently, they both share the same rather loose criteria for what scientific disciplines are relevant to scientific consensus and “certainty” regarding hypotheses of anthropogenic climate change:

Gore called the award meaningful because of his co-winner, calling the IPCC the "world's pre-eminent scientific body devoted to improving our understanding of the climate crisis."

The committee cited the IPCC for its two decades of scientific reports that have "created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming. Thousands of scientists and officials from over 100 countries have collaborated to achieve greater certainty as to the scale of the warming."

It seems almost pointless to add that whether human activity causes global warming is a different consideration altogether, than whether global climates are actually warming. And, despite the conviction of UN panels and the Nobel Prize Committee, there is no scientific consensus as to measures to “control” the climate “before it’s too late.”

Just as global warming activists seek consensus from scientists outside the field of climatology, they likewise ignore economists who make persuasive arguments against draconian and likely counterproductive measures to “control” climate change, if that’s even possible.

Mona Charen, writing at National Review, takes positive note of Bjorn Lomborg and his new book, Cool It: A Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming:

Lomborg’s book focuses on trade-offs. If we’re going to spend a fixed amount of money to improve the world, what makes the most sense? Or to put it another way, which dollar spent produces the greatest benefit? According to a group of economists (including four Nobel Prize winners) who examined this question in 2004, the answer was clear. One dollar spent fighting HIV/AIDS produced $40 in social benefits. One dollar spent on fighting malnutrition yields about $30 in social benefits. Other efforts, like ending agricultural subsidies in the wealthy countries and ensuring worldwide free trade, would net a $15 benefit for a one-dollar cost. Cutting CO2 emissions, by contrast, yields between 2 and 25 cents per dollar invested.

Not that any such economic considerations will deter the new fundamentalists.

Think about it. When was the last time the UN had the right answer for any pressing global problem, whether geopolitical or environmental? This is the same body that considers Cuba, Libya and North Korea suitable candidates for the UN Human Rights Commission. The Nobel Committee show even less attachment to reason:

In recent years, the Norwegian committee has broadened its interpretation of peacemaking and disarmament efforts outlined by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel in creating the prize with his 1895 will. The prize now often also recognizes human rights, democracy, elimination of poverty, sharing resources and the environment.

"We believe that the Nobel Committee has shown great courage by so clearly connecting the climate problems with peace," said Truls Gulowsen, head of environmental group Greenpeace Norway.

In some far away past, there were lauded examples of great courage. Somehow pandering to hysteria and an international socialist agenda – driven by an ethos that regards human industrial and economic activity as an offense against “nature” – doesn’t strike me as particularly courageous. And surely not when exercised by a sycophant like Gore.

Two other observations about what had to be an inevitable Nobel outcome. This award effectively elevates Gore to environmental Pope-ship, and spawns renewed interest and attention to another possible Gore Presidential campaign. That the Nobel Prize committee saw fit to jointly award the Peace Prize to Gore and the equally alarmist and fact-challenged UN IPCC seems particularly apt.

Nobel science prizes arguably remain non-political, if sufficiently demonstrated by the recent awards to a Russian scientist showing causal relationship between solar activity and global warming, in contrast to the Nobel’s hallowed “informed consensus” that recent warming can be attributed to human activity. Not so the Peace Prize, at least not in the past several decades.

It goes way beyond the outrages of Yassar Arafat’s award, for what, exactly? Public posturing for international media, while simultaneously directing the killing of innocent civilians, and calls in Arabic for the annihilation of Israel. Or even the award to the sometimes well-intended internationalist Jimmy Carter, whose founding of Habitat for Humanity might warrant special attention, were it not for his decades of anti-Semitic apologias for dictators, and credulous coddling of tyrants.

Has any peace resulted from the “efforts” by Carter or Arafat, or are the same evils and lack of peace prevalent in the Middle East, if not more widespread? And yet, has the Nobel Committee in the past 20 years recognized those who really struggle mightily for peace, even at the risk of their own lives?

Think about how meaningless has become the Nobel. Gorbachov received one, for not resisting the collapse of the Soviet Empire, “allowing” the liberation of first Eastern Europe, then the long suffering Republics involuntarily comprising the USSR. So too, Nobel honored an activist who claimed that HIV and AIDS were intentionally spread to kill Africans. Arafat, and now Gore.

One can imagine that Bono or Sean Penn can reasonably hope for a Nobel some day.

That’s if they can stay above water, come the deluge predicted by Gore and his UN accomplices.

Now what was that I read about the record setting growth of the ice sheets in Antarctica?

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