Al Gore, Inuit activist gain Nobel Peace Prize nod

John Acher

February 1, 2007

OSLO — Two Norwegian parliamentarians have nominated former U.S. Vice President Al Gore for the Nobel Peace Prize for raising awareness of climate change.

Since leaving office in 2001 Gore has lectured extensively on the threat of global warming and last year starred in his own documentary film “An Inconvenient Truth” to argue for immediate action to deal with the problem.

“I think climate change is this century’s most important and most threatening environmental issue, and I think Al Gore has made a difference in putting climate change on the global agenda,” Conservative MP Boerge Brende told Reuters.

They also nominated Inuit campaigner Sheila Watt-Cloutier of Canada for her work to show how climate change is affecting the lives of the Arctic indigenous people, Brende said.

Brende said Gore had also boosted the chances of reaching a consensus among world leaders on measures to tackle climate change from 2012 when the first period of the Kyoto Protocol curbing emissions of greenhouse gases ends.

“Al Gore with his movie and his dedication and his active diplomacy among world leaders has really moved the issue forward,” said Brende, environment minister in 2001-2004.

The United States signed the Kyoto pact in 1997 when Gore was vice president but President Bill Clinton never submitted it to the Senate for ratification, knowing it would be defeated.

President George W. Bush pulled out of Kyoto in 2001, saying it would hurt the U.S. economy and unfairly excluded developing nations.

It would not be the first Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded for environmental work. In 2004 Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai won for her campaign to plant trees in Africa.

Brende teamed up with a political opponent from the Socialist Left party, Heidi Soerensen, to nominate Gore for the peace prize by the Feb. 1 deadline for nominations.

Members of national parliaments and governments are among the many people entitled to send in nominations for the prize. Others include former laureates, members of international courts and university professors in several fields.

The winner is announced annually in October in Oslo.

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