October 13, 2007

Congratulations to Vice President Gore and the IPCC

Filed under: Environment, Geography — ubikcan @ 12:50 pm

Congratulations to former Vice President Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.

They won the prize:

for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.

The geospatial community can be especially pleased by this award, recognizing as it does the role of matters close to our hearts (the environment and geography). As Frank at Very Spatial points out:

I find it interesting the Nobel people are turning more and more to areas beyond human conflict when recognizing impacts on world peace. The Nobel Institute gives out several prizes in a range of disciplines, but I think the peace prize is the most recognized. It’s also the only slot in which geography fits nicely.

The IPCC was founded in 1988 and consists of thousands of volunteer members and experts on climate change.

Press coverage has been almost uniformly congratulatory (even the White House, which refused to partake in the Kyoto protocols managed to squeeze out an embarrassed congratulations). Of course, some people who have invested heavily in denying climate change and global warming are whining. Pat Robertson rushed to MSNBC and made some bizarre remarks about quote “Swedish socialists” spearheading a Swedish global domination conspiracy!

Sounds scary! Unfortunately, as directed by Alfred Nobel in his will, the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by… Norwegians.

But Robertson (who claimed earlier this year that God spoke to him warning him of a nuclear attack on the USA in 2007) has always made odd comments about global warming and can hardly be called a paid-up member of the reality-based community.

Which makes reactions like Glenn’s at AnyGeo a little more inexplicable (and it has unfortunately attracted a comment that can only be interpreted as hateful).

Here are the more useful comments of DarkSyde, who wrote earlier today at DailyKos:

Like any award built on a foundation of science, Mr. Gore stands on the shoulders of thousands of past scientists who laid the ground work on climate change, stretching all the way back to Joseph Fourier who first described the Greenhouse Effect in 1824. More notable and much later pioneers include Tom Wigley of NCAR, Ben Santer of Lawrence Livermore Labs, Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit of Univ. of East Anglia, Wally Broecker who discovered just how rapid and devastating climate change can be, Michael Mann who was instrumental in creating the famous Hockey Stick Graph used in many derivative forms in An Inconvenient Truth, James Hansen of NASA/GISS who blew the whistle loud and clear on the Bush Administration’s meddling in tax supported science agencies studying global warming , and that’s barely scratching the surface. Indeed, as the AP notes:

AP — Plenty of people share the glory of the Nobel Peace Prize — thousands of scientists have been studying and documenting climate change under a U.N. body set up in 1988 as concerns grew about global warming.

This is a proud moment for all progressives, for legitimate scientists, and a perhaps critical tipping point for the world in more ways than one. For climate change and environmental destruction do not play political favorites. They instead target the young and the old alike, as surely as they draw a deadly bead on conservatives and progressives with utter indifference.

NASA GISS is the Godard Space Studies which issued a report earlier this year warning of this tipping point:

NASA and Columbia University Earth Institute research finds that human-made greenhouse gases have brought the Earth’s climate close to critical tipping points, with potentially dangerous consequences for the planet.

But where is the AAG (Association of American Geographers)? The AAAS (American Association for the Advancement for Science) already has an acknowledgment of the prize on its website (proudly noting that Gore is a AAAS member) but nothing from the AAG–the one professional organization you would expect something from. Is this–once again–too “political” for AAG’s leadership?

I call on them to issue a proud announcement of geographer’s contributions to climate science and its anthropogenic causes.

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