Argue with the medium, not with his climate message
Former Vice President Al Gore and a panel of scientists have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
FOR Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, congratulating Al Gore for being awarded a share of the Nobel Peace Prize was a remarkable display of graciousness that other hardened skeptics of global warming found difficult to embrace.
Almost immediately after the Nobel Committee announced the choice of the former vice president and the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for their work on global warming, outraged harrumphing reverberated from conservative airwaves and blogs with like-minded think-tank types tooting criticism of the prize, its sponsors and Gore himself.
No matter. The award has been conferred and, unlike the 2000 presidential election, cannot be chad-inspected and there is no high court that can reverse the selection of Gore, the most influential public advocate for curbing global warming.
Criticism ranged from the inconvenient effects of Gore's win to the mass of 2008 presidential candidates of both parties, the fit of a Peace Prize to what some see as ostensibly an environmental issue and whether a johnny-come-lately Gore deserved the award.
Indeed, the drumbeat for a Gore candidacy has grown louder in recent days as some Democrats view the man who won the popular vote seven years ago as a transformative power with enough appeal to mess up the party's current pecking order while rendering Republicans irrelevant. They can all take comfort in Gore's disinclination to re-enter that delirious whirl.
As to what global warming has to do with peace, climate change has and will continue to disrupt a world population's access to natural resources, such as oil and water, which has and will continue to be a spark for competition and wars. Moreover, the message Gore has delivered through his cautionary film, "An Inconvenient Truth," is one that stresses the necessity for a collective course change through which social stability can be achieved.
The film remains controversial. A British man filed suit, contending it was propaganda that should not be screened for schoolchildren, echoing challenges in U.S. courts about teaching evolution without including the vagaries of creationism. The British court, while noting that some of the film's points were inconclusive, found it was "broadly accurate."
Gore did not muscle into global warming as a post-political pastime. For 30 years he has studied the issue and as vice president worked on the Kyoto Protocol that calls for greenhouse gas reductions. His attention drew ridicule from political opponents, including from the first president Bush, who nicknamed him "ozone man."
Gore did not single-handedly bring the issue to the public forefront. A network of scientists for IPCC, who also were maligned for suggesting global warming's connection to human activity, has done much of the heavy lifting for 20 years. Gore's role has been to inform effectively, and even those who don't like the medium should agree that his message this time is most important.