Calling on the world to declare war on global warming, former US vice-president Al Gore accepted the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, Monday. He shared the prize with the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, recognized for its work alerting the world to the imminent threats of climate change.
The ceremony also put a spotlight on work being done by scientists and world leaders in Bali, Indonesia, now hammering out a post-Kyoto Protocol framework to address global warming.
"It is time to make peace with the planet," Gore said in his acceptance speech . "We must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency and resolve that has previously been seen only when nations mobilized for war."
Concluding his acceptance speech, Gore applauded the past efforts of Europe and Japan to mitigate climate change, while taking the US and China to task.
"While India is also growing fast in importance, it should be absolutely clear that it is the two largest CO2 emitters – most of all, my own country – that will need to make the boldest moves, or stand accountable before history for their failure to act."
Yet, says Britain's Guardian, the US administration is continuing its own war against enacting any meaningful response to climate change.
"The US said it was in Bali to be "constructive" and wanted the meeting to agree a roadmap to a new agreement, which would be concluded by 2009. But it said it would not agree a firm target, presented either as an emissions reduction or as a maximum temperature rise."
Reform-minded nations in Bali are trying to keep tough wording in any final agreement, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
"This wording puts pressure on the US and developing countries such as China, saying that global emissions will need to peak in the next 10 to 15 years and be cut by half by the middle of the century. But concerns that the wording will be stripped intensified yesterday when similar wording disappeared from another key document discussing the proposals for developed countries."
The announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize recipients has helped bolster those seeking radical action in Bali, as well as a climate-change bill now being considered by the US Senate. Gore criticized some US presidential candidates for sidestepping global warming issues in their campaigns. He told Reuters:
"Some of the candidates have made speeches which are quite good and proposals that are quite responsible, but overall the issue has not achieved the kind of priority that I think it should have."
US senator and former presidential candidate John Kerry, who arrived in Bali Sunday, said that he feels that resolve for action does exist among Democratic candidates for next fall's presidential election. Reuters also reported that Kerry said "an administration run by the Democrats would mean the difference between night and day on policies to fight global warming."
Kerry added that the Democrats want to do everything President Bush doesn't want to do to fight climate change, namely back mandatory emissions targets and pass a bill to create a cap-and-trade system for carbon-dioxide emissions.