Gore, Winfrey, Annan seen as climate leaders: poll

OSLO Mon Jul 2, 2007 9:04am EDT

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore speaks during the first International Meeting for Friends of Trees in Barcelona, June 23, 2007. Gore, talk show host Oprah Winfrey and ex-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan are best suited to champion work to fight climate change, a 47-nation opinion poll said on Monday. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore speaks during the first International Meeting for Friends of Trees in Barcelona, June 23, 2007. Gore, talk show host Oprah Winfrey and ex-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan are best suited to champion work to fight climate change, a 47-nation opinion poll said on Monday.

Credit: Reuters/Gustau Nacarino

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OSLO (Reuters) - Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, talk show host Oprah Winfrey and ex-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan are best suited to champion work to fight climate change, a 47-nation opinion poll said on Monday.

The three were most picked by more than 26,000 Internet users from a list of more than 20 politicians, actors, singers and soccer players to highlight links between celebrities and the environment before Live Earth pop concerts on Saturday.

"For a dream ticket across all countries...Gore and Winfrey were the most selected overall" to alert public opinion to climate risks, said Max Boykoff of Oxford University which ran the survey with media group the Nielsen Company.

Gore was chosen by 18 percent of people when asked to pick up to three people from the list as the most influential to "champion efforts to combat global warming."

Gore has emerged as a leading advocate of efforts to curb global warming. His documentary on the subject, "An Inconvenient Truth," won two Academy Awards this year.

Fifteen percent said Annan, with Winfrey tying with former U.S. President Bill Clinton on 14 percent, just ahead of South Africa's Nelson Mandela. Gore and Winfrey were the most selected pair worldwide, and in countries including the United States.

In other countries, Annan was top with California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Clinton in China. In Germany, Annan was paired with Mandela while in Britain, entrepreneur Richard Branson led with Irish singer Bob Geldof.

Other suggested names on the list included actors Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney or Angelia Jolie, soccer players such as Ronaldinho, David Beckham or Didier Drogba, and singers including Bono and Sting. The survey was made in April.

Celebrities could help convey concerns about climate change to a broad audience, Boykoff told Reuters. Scientists in a U.N. climate panel say that greenhouse gases, mainly from burning fossil fuels, will bring more droughts, floods and rising seas.

"But involving Hollywood means there is a risk that some of these questions may just be confined to trivial fashion," he said. Live Earth concerts will be in Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai, Johannesburg, Hamburg, London, Rio de Janeiro and New York.

Worldwide, and in the United States where President George W. Bush beat Gore in the 2000 election, a third said that none on the list were suited to lead an assault on climate change.

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