Here's a quick roundup up some of the initial reactions from the global blogosphere to today's announcement that former US vice president Al Gore and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have won this year's Nobel Peace Prize.
A NetEase report on the news early Friday evening got more than three hundred comments (other NetEase reports had comments turned off), the first one of which read:
If this American had won at the time instead of Bush, the world would be a very different place!
Who were the judges? Iraq and Iran too, I hope!!
How is the judging committee set up? Is it just and fair? Why don't Chinese ever get Nobel prizes?
Americans are everywhere around the world killing and lighting fires, and a Vice President of this country has won a Nobel prize? This is real big international joke!
Mr. Gore advocates environmental protection, and as I see it once represented the rationality and conscience of a modern but split America. But six months ago the news came out that he and his wife, the two of them each year in their home consume 220,000 kilowatts of power, ten times higher than the average American and three hundred times more than the average Chinese. At the beginning I thought this was some political smear, but soon after learned this was the truth from a spokesman of his.
Have any of you seen An Inconvenient Truth ? If you haven't, then you shouldn't be making any absurd conclusions. If Gore had won back in the day, then the world would be a completely different place. He's a ‘greenpeacer’, I really admire him! It's him that made a documentary of human destruction of the environment for us to see, and showed us how to care for the earth, to care for our homes! There isn't much to criticism him for.
The peace prize should have gone our hybrid rice expert Yuan Rongping. If it weren't for Yuan Rongping who knows how many people would be starving and how chaotic the world would be. So where's the peace prize?
The Cuban-American bloggers writing at Babalu Blog and El Café Cubano were far from elated at the news, but Caribbean Lionesse joined the chorus of those wondering whether the win would encourage Gore to take another shot at the US presidency:
It's funny now if you consider how Gore's image has been revamped. There was a time when he was thought to be dull and wooden and uninteresting. People underestimated and undervalued him and he did not win as he deserved. Now his public image is far, far better than that of Dubya.
Two reactions out of India focused on Rajendra Pachauri, the Indian scientist who heads the IPCC.
Sepia Mutiny offers some background on Pachauri's appointment to the position:
In recent years, Pachauri has sharply criticized the general lack of action on climate change, though interestingly his name was originally put forward for this post by the Bush administration, because he was thought to be less passionate about the subject than his British predecessor . . . The backstory on Pachauri’s initial appointment goes back to the controversy over the Bush administration’s refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol; more on that here. I’m a little puzzled as to why the Bush Admin. thought Pachauri would be a quieter candidate, especially since I gather he himself supported a boycott of ExxonMobil back in 2001.
At SAJAForum, Sree Sreenivasan notes the omission of Pachauri's name from the official Nobel citation, observing that “unlike the last two Peace Prizes, which also went to major organizations, in this case the head of the group is not named in the citation itself.” Sreenivasan goes on to speculate upon the reasons for the omission, concluding that
Yunus and ElBaradei [co-winners of the 2006 and 2005 awards, respectively] have been running their organizations for much longer periods of time (Pachauri only became head of IPCC in 2002) and were the most public faces of Grameen and IAEA respectively – in fact, the ONLY public faces. Their stature and sheer force of personality would certainly have been a factor in naming them individually. The other is that there wasn't another, unconnected entity splitting those awards. Once Al Gore was going to get half the award, it wouldn't make sense to name Pachauri in the IPCC citation – perhaps.
Kerala blogger McMenon begins his post with a play on the title of Al Gore's Oscar-winning film, saying “They didn't give the award to Mahatma Gandhi, they never did. For the one man who lived and died for the sake of peace, it was inconvenient to the Nobel committee to honour a man who deserved it the most.” Saying that Gore failed to fight the good “fight for the Americans and the peace loving people of the world” when he conceded victory to George W. Bush in the 2000 US presidential elections, McMenon expresses deep skepticism of the whole affair:
Let us not be fooled by the Inconvenient Truth or the Nobel Peace Prize. The USA has not signed the Kyoto agreement. You don't expect a seasoned politician like Al Gore to be taking documentaries (leave that job to real movie makers like Michael Moore and Spielberg); one expects Gore to be putting political pressure on the American government. But, then, how would a man who has no self respect do anything to save the world.
Dawoud at Mideast Youth congratulates the winners and cites some of the evidence that the world's climate may be changing, adding that
You’ve heard it all and I’m not gonna try to regurgitate all of it for the sake of doing so. According to the IPCC, we can do things today that can spare us from the worst of the predictions that are being made regarding the world 10 years from now. Just ask yourself what you can do and read more up on it and arm yourself. Human rights causes are one thing, but when mother nature does her thing, all of this means nothing.
A couple of Latin American bloggers provided initial reactions to the news. Eduardo Villanueva, a Peruvian Communications Professor and blogger at Casi Un Blog Mk. II [ES] sees hope for so-called “nerds”:
Este Nobel de la Paz prueba que los nerds salvarán al mundo. Porque Gore
no será un nerd como los científicos del IPCC, pero igual… como no
puede ser nerd, se dedica a marketear a los nerds.
Perhaps Gore is not a nerd like the scientists from the IPCC, but it's
all the same…since he couldn't be a nerd, he decided to market to the
In Argentina, Louis Cyphre writes at the group blog El Opinador Compulsivo [ES] that he hopes that this announcement leads to something bigger:
Se lo digo en serio, espero que algo bueno salga de todo
esto y se presente como candidato a presidente en 2008.
I'm am talking seriously, I hope something good comes from all of this
and (Gore) announces his candidacy for president in 2008.
On October 10, Ray Hartley, editor of South African daily The Times predicted that Al Gore was “heading for a unique double: An Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize”. In his October 12 entry, Hartley wrote that the Nobel prize “changes everything”:
There are nay-sayers who believe that Gore is a cynical lobbyist who is using the climate change issue to invent a fresh political career. I disagree with them. I covered the 2000 US Presidential election for the Sunday Times of South Africa and it was very apparent then that Gore was prepared to go out on a limb on environmental issues with no serious political benefit at the polls. What he has done is to popularise a very important issue. How the politics of climate change plays out is a different matter. From sunnier and sunnier South Africa, well done
Also pleased at the news was South African nicharalambous.com, who rejoiced that
Al Gore has finally won something. And to be honest, if I were him I would rather win the Nobel Peace Prize than the presidency of the US of A.
Another blogger with tongue in cheek was James Opiko at PoliticalArticles.NET, who suggested that
a “Libel” award should be bestowed jointly to Bush, Osama and Hitler (Posthumously) — for unleashing the worst terror on humankind in the last 100 Years.That would still not fully resuscitate America morally, but would restore much of the prestige that the number one nation in the world has lost in the last six years, under the clamps of a Republican THUG administration.
Al Gore has chosen a great issue to get behind, climate change around the world. Great accomplishments: An Oscar and the Nobel Peace Prize.