Opinion: Peace Prize for Gore Means Little to World | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 12.10.2007
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Opinion: Peace Prize for Gore Means Little to World

While fighting climate change does play a role in spreading world peace, a Nobel Peace Prize for former US Vice President Al Gore was unnecessary and ill timed, according to DW's Christina Bergmann.


For some time the Nobel Prize committee has no longer bestowed its most renowned award on traditional politicians and peacemakers, which is a positive development.

Fernschreiber Christina Bergmann

The academy has recognized that, for example, the fight against poverty also serves peace. In this respect, it is logical to dedicate this year's prize to those who have called attention to the effects of worldwide climate change. The distinction for the UN's climate panel is completely justified.

That the Nobel committee awarded former US Vice President Al Gore with a medal as well is unnecessary and, most importantly, has occurred at the wrong time.

To honor the man who in the USA is either hated or celebrated like a pop star diverts attention from the topic. Even if the Nobel committee didn't intend it to be, the prize is also a slap in the face to current President George W. Bush, who won the 2000 election. Had Gore been elected president, the USA would certainly be among those who signed the Kyoto Protocol.

Additionally, the war in Iraq would either have not taken place or, at least, would not have proceeded as it has under Bush. The Nobel committee must have also noticed that many Americans would like to see Al Gore in the running for the next presidency, which he can still enter.

There is also a danger that the facts disappear behind the hype surrounding the man. Does anyone remember the Oscar award ceremony for the movie "An Inconvenient Truth"? The film deals with the world and global warming but mainly with Al Gore. Without him the film would have been just one of many. But it's the film with which Gore became famous -- and which can now only be shown in schools in Great Britain when attention is brought to nine mistakes the film presents.

To be fair, one also has to say that Al Gore has done a service to the topic of global warming in the United States. Americans are in dire need of someone to explain to them that not every trip requires a car and that insulated homes help save energy. Still, is that enough for a Nobel Peace Prize? The rest of the world has moved much further and doesn't need Al Gore to explain the dangers of climate change to them.

There is reason enough to assume that Al Gore will use the political capital the Nobel Prize brings primarily to promote his PR campaign against climate change. Gore has said he is not interested in running for president, and the Nobel Prize committee should hope he sticks to his word. Otherwise it has let itself be exploited by a politician for personal reasons in a way that cannot be justified.

Christina Bergmann is a Deutsche Welle correspondent in Washington (sms)

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