OSLO Climate campaigner Al Gore collected the
Nobel Peace Prize on Monday and said it was time to make peace
with the planet.
The former U.S. vice president shared the 2007 prize with
the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change whose head,
Rajendra Pachauri, told leaders at a U.N. climate conference in
Indonesia to heed the wisdom of science.
"Without realizing it, we have begun to wage war on the
earth itself," Gore said in his speech. "It is time to make
peace with the planet.
"The very web of life on which we depend is being ripped
and frayed," Gore said at Oslo's City Hall to the applause of
about 1,000 guests, including Norway's King Harald and Queen
"The earth has a fever. And the fever is rising," he said,
adding the world every day pumps out 70 million tons of
global-warming pollution -- mainly carbon dioxide.
Instead of the "nuclear winter" scientists warned of a few
decades ago, the planet now faces a "carbon summer," he said.
Gore, for whom the Nobel prize marked a dramatic comeback
from defeat to George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential
election, said earlier generations had the courage to save
civilization when leaders found the right words in the 11th
"Once again it is the 11th hour," said Gore, who has said
he will give his part of the $1.5 million prize to climate
"We must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency
and resolve that has previously been seen only when nations
mobilized for war," he said, crediting the generation that
defeated fascism around the world in the 1940s.
Gore said he was deeply moved to be the second man from the
tiny town of Carthage, Tennessee, to win the peace prize. The
first was U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull in 1945 for his
role fostering the United Nations.
He said saving the global environment must become "the
central organizing principle of the world community."
The ceremony was beamed live to the U.N. climate conference
in Bali, Indonesia, where governments are meeting to find a way
to cut emissions beyond the Kyoto pact, which runs out in 2012.
VOICE OF SCIENCE
Pachauri, an Indian scientist, warned the impact of climate
change on some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable
people could prove "extremely unsettling."
He said warming could lead to widespread extinctions of
species and a sharp rise in temperatures of 4.5 degrees Celsius
from 1980-99 levels would be "grave and disastrous."
Pachauri said the world's attention is now riveted on Bali
and he asked: "Will those responsible for decisions in the
field of climate change at the global level listen to the voice
of science and knowledge, which is now loud and clear?"
The U.N. climate panel groups some 2,500 scientists from
more than 130 countries and has issued four major reports
detailing the increasing threats of global warming.
The laureates will go to Bali from Norway, and Gore said he
would urge the conference to adopt a bold mandate for a treaty
that puts a universal global cap on emissions and that uses the
market in emissions trading to bring about speedy reductions.
He said a new climate treaty to replace the 1997 Kyoto pact
curbing greenhouse gas emissions should be in place by 2010 --
two years sooner than now planned -- and heads of state should
meet every three months until a new treaty is completed.
He also urged a moratorium on building new power plants
that burn coal without trapping and storing carbon dioxide
"Most important of all, we need to put a price on carbon,"
Gore said, urging also a CO2 tax that would be rebated to the
people progressively in ways that shift the burden to
Gore said the two biggest greenhouse gas emitters, the
United States and China, were failing to do enough, but saving
the planet depended on them making the boldest moves.
(Editing by Janet Lawrence)