“I think it is thrilling that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee recognizes early contributions made to world peace by President Barack Obama,” former Vice President Al Gore said today. “Not only is it an honor for him, it is an honor for our country.”
Speaking to 600 people in Madison, Wisconsin attending the annual convention of the Society of Environmental Journalists, Gore said, “Much of what he has accomplished already is going to be far more appreciated in the eyes of history, as it has been by the Nobel Committee.”
“Much of what he has accomplished already is going to be far more appreciated in the eyes of history, as it has been by the Nobel Committee.”
It was as though Gore—who won the Nobel Prize in 2007 for his work on global warming—was anticipating critics saying a Nobel Prize for Obama is premature at best.
“It will take some time before people put together all of his moves that linked his speech at the United Nations on the phasing out of nuclear weapons, his shift on the missile defense program in Eastern Europe, and the movement of Russia to join an international consensus that confronts Iran with the need to abide by a nuclear non-proliferation treaty,” he said.
Gore said the award to Obama is “extremely well-deserved,” and that Obama is succeeding “in changing the way the world is approaching the climate crisis.”
“I am certain President Obama will go to Copenhagen,” this December for the Conference on Climate, Gore said. “He has not told me that and no announcement has been made, but I am certain he will. And I am hoping other heads of states will also go to Copenhagen.” (The White House has announced Obama will attend the December 10 prize ceremony in Oslo. The climate conference is set for December 6-18 so the president may well hang around Denmark for a few days.)
• Obama Won What?!: Daily Beast Contributors Weigh InGore cited Obama’s economic recovery efforts as another Nobel factor. “Look at the progress that has been made. Just a short time after taking office, President Obama introduced a very large stimulus program that included a very significant component focused on renewable energy, on the first steps toward the construction on a super grid in the United States that is capable of carrying large amounts of renewable electricity from areas in the United States where it is produced by solar energy, and areas where it is produced by wind energy and by geothermal energy…”
Gore also said that behind the scenes in Congress there is a much more bipartisan effort than is visible regarding legislation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to levels last seen in 1990. He predicted that the Senate will pass a bill similar to one produced by the House, and that it will be in a conference committee when Copenhagen convenes.
Asked by The Daily Beast to forecast how China would approach the Copenhagen Climate Conference, Gore said he had already met with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the United Nations last month and will be talking with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in two weeks.
“We are in the midst of a genuine sea change in China’s approach to this issue,” Gore said. If the U.S. looks as though it will pass meaningful legislation limiting carbon dioxide emissions, the Chinese will be motivated to follow suit. “Back-channel negotiations have made it clear, the Chinese will feel more obligated to participate in a meaningful way,” Gore said. “They are really moving fairly rapidly. There is a consensus in Chinese society on global warming, at every level... China’s role is rapidly moving to the positive side.”
Allan Dodds Frank is a business investigative correspondent who specializes in white collar crime. He also is President of the Overseas Press Club of America, one of the many journalism organizations that protests the arrests of journalists abroad and repression of freedom of speech.