Friday, October 12, 2007

Nobel Peace Prize

I guess the Nobel committee is not as tight-lipped as I thought.

I like that they gave the prize both to Gore and to the IPCC. The latter certainly deserves it as much as Gore, probably more, and it's an acknowledgment of a lot of work done by a lot of scientists over the years. It's too bad they all can't get a little medal out of this.

I am skeptical that this will mean much change, though. It will give Gore some moral authority, but only among the choir. The right long-ago dismissed the Nobel institution, and their attitudes about global warming aren't going to suddenly change this morning. People aren't going to suddenly drive less or fly less or even, I think, be more willing to pay something like a carbon tax. The corporations that fund and control the reins of power in this country are not going to stop digging in their heals -- the stakes are far, far higher than that. The Chinese will not suddenly agree to dial down their 8% rates of growth. And, of course, this prize won't mean one iota to the current administration.

Gore will gain even more rock star status among the converted, and if anything, this award is a personal victory for him, especially after all he's been though the 2000 election. He could have gone back to Tennessee and walked around with his head down, but he reinvented himself and kept going.

One hundred years from now the Iraq War and "war on terrorism" will look as meaningless and inconsequential as does the Spanish-American war today. Instead, the world will be wondering how in the hell we knew the facts and consequences of greenhouse gases and yet still didn't act on it. This will at least tell them that some people were trying.

No comments: