February 1st, 2007 by Rightsideup

CNN reports that Al Gore has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, apparently for his work as an environmental advocate, primarily his film An Inconvenient Truth. There are two primary objections to this nomination.

Firstly, the prize was to be awarded, according to Nobel’s will,

“to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”.

Last year’s nominee, Muhammad Yunus, though a person of considerable achievements and benefit to the nation of Bangladesh, was also a bit of a poor fit with the stated aim of the prize, having neither done much to promote fraternity between nations or had anything to do with promoting or holding peace congresses. Al Gore, a controversial figure at best, has hardly promoted peace and has done nothing in connection with fostering peace or “peace congresses”. This is a point which the Economist, for one, picked up on back in October.

The second objection is that Al Gore is far from being universally admired for his work on environmentalism. He has been widely criticised (along with others) for mis-stating or exaggerating the problems of global warming and his alarmist tone. The alarm and worry caused by his presentations and his movie are certainly inconsistent with at least one definition of peace (and have very little to do with any other definition either).

Hopefully, this will turn out to have been a political statement on the part of the nominators and will not gain any greater credence. If it does gain wider attention and support, the Nobel Prize Committee will really have to think hard about a new set of criteria for the prize which are less in keeping with their founders’ stated wishes but more in keeping with actual recent outcomes.