Saturday, October 27, 2007

Peace and Climate change: Linked?

In his last and final will Alfred Nobel asked for the whole of his remaining estate to be constituted into a fund to be annually distributed in the form of prizes, five in all. Among them the peace prize was to be awarded to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

How then does awarding the Nobel Peace prize to Al Gore and the IPCC for their work on Climate change constitute an execution of Nobel's will as he deemed it? Many see it more as a political statement meant to rebuke President Bush, unable to see how the their work qualifies them for a Peace prize.

Here are two qoutes that seemed aimed to quell the dissent or at least afford an explaination.

Adam Smith, Editor-in-Chief,
"In awarding the Prize to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the global body responsible for scientific assessment of climate change, and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore, the phenomenon's most renowned campaigner, the Norwegian Nobel Committee are highlighting the link they see between the risk of accelerating climate change and the risk of violent conflict and wars."

Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
"The fact that the Nobel Prize committee has awarded this prize to IPCC for peace is a clear recognition of [the fact] that if we allow things to run out of hand, it can lead to conflict. Where you have water scarcity, you obviously have conflict. Where you have floods and droughts, obviously there will be hardship and that can lead to conflict. If the sea level rises and people are displaced, they will overrun political boundaries and that will lead to conflict."

(The above quote is from an interview for Newsweek with Fareed Zackaria)

While the prize will and has helped raise concern and awareness for Global warming, a true planetary emergency, the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal carried an article "Not Noble Winners" that lists some candidates for the prize in 2008 that might be more of what Alfred Nobel had in mind.

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