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Al Gore, U.N. Climate Change Panel Share Nobel Peace Prize

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Former Vice President Al Gore and the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have been awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to raise awareness on global warning. We get reaction from Guardian columnist and leading environmental campaigner George Monbiot. [includes rush transcript]

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We begin with this morning’s announcement of the 2007 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Jan Egeland of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

JAN EGELAND: The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 is to be shared in two equal parts between the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, and Albert Arnold “Al” Gore Jr., for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.

AMY GOODMAN: The U.N.'s climate panel groups 2,500 researchers from more than 130 nations and issued reports this year blaming human activities for climate changes ranging from more heat waves to floods. Since Al Gore's failed bid for the presidency in 2000, he’s emerged as a leading climate campaigner. He won an Academy Award for his 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth.

George Monbiot is a widely read columnist for The Guardian of London, a leading British campaigner for the environment. His latest book is called Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning. He joins us now from Britain.

George Monbiot, your response to the Nobel Peace Prize winners this year today?

GEORGE MONBIOT: Well, I am delighted, particularly for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This must be the most maligned institution on earth, in that it’s a very conservative scientific panel which chooses only the science which is rock-solid, and yet it’s often portrayed as an insane radical organization trying to overthrow civilization as we know it. And it’s fought a long, hard battle for the science to be heard, and that battle is now being rewarded.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, George Monbiot, in announcing the award, the Nobel Prize committee indicated that it was seeking to actively make clear the importance and the dangers of continued global warming. Your response to their message?

GEORGE MONBIOT: Well, they have done so, but they have done so by drawing only on the science which can be absolutely trusted. In other words, the science which ends up in their reports is the science of consensus, and they exclude things even which have a very widespread scientific backing; but where there’s some legitimate dispute, they will exclude that from their reports. So this is an organization which has been as rigorous as you possibly can be in documenting what is happening to the world’s climate. And yet they are constantly pilloried and attacked by right-wing climate change deniers as if they’re doing the opposite. And I am very, very glad that they have been recognized in this way.

AMY GOODMAN: And, George Monbiot, the significance of Al Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize, his record after he was vice president and his record as part of the Clinton administration?

GEORGE MONBIOT: Well, I have to say that I feel slightly more equivocal about this, because while I think he’s done some very good work indeed in publicizing climate change, his record on peace has not been quite so good. And this is, after all, the Nobel Peace Prize. And in common, unfortunately, with most of the Democratic Party, he has been quick to endorse and slow to condemn unwarranted attacks on other nations, and therefore I do feel uneasy about his receipt of the prize.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you very much for your quick response. Today’s news, again, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize: Al Gore, the former vice president of the United States, and the U.N. organization on climate change, the Panel on Climate Change.

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