Thursday, 18 October 2007

Gore and peace

Reposted from:

Jonathan Freedland

Gore and peace

The former vice-president deserves his shared Nobel prize, and there will be a feverish hope in the US that he will now enter the 2008 election race.

Well, that certainly puts Judge Michael Burton in his place. Earlier this week, the high court judge ruled that Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, contained nine scientific errors which had arisen in the context of "alarmism and exaggeration", and that therefore the film should only be shown in British schools with some balancing guidance notes. Somehow I suspect the blow of that court ruling will be softened by today's news that

Al Gore, along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has won the Nobel peace prize for his advocacy on the issue of global warming
- at the heart of which is, of course, An Inconvenient Truth.

When I saw the film more than a year ago, I wrote that it was a "model of political communication", somehow taking facts that you might have already known in your head and using them to reach your gut - which is where lasting political convictions reside. Many who had known abstractly about climate change before seeing Gore's movie admit they only truly cared about it, and saw its urgency, afterwards. And that turnaround has been repeated in countless countries among millions of people. For that remarkable achievement alone, Gore richly deserves his shared Nobel.


Gore's unhappiness with the life of a political candidate is real. He's also come to believe that even a US president is powerless to act on climate change unless public opinion has moved, that acting as a teacher and advocate can have a greater political impact. And in a way the Nobel jury have just proved him right. In this area, at least, a failed presidential candidate has achieved much, much more than the man who took the White House from him.

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