The Heat Is Online

Gore, Watt-Cloutier Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Gore earns Nobel nomination for global warming, Feb. 1, 2007


Oslo, Norway (AP) -- Former Vice President Al Gore has been nominated for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his wide-reaching efforts to draw the world's attention to the dangers of global warming, a Norwegian lawmaker said Thursday.


"A prerequisite for winning the Nobel Peace Prize is making a difference, and Al Gore has made a difference," Conservative Member of Parliament Boerge Brende, a former minister of environment and then of trade, told The Associated Press.


Brende said he joined political opponent Heidi Soerensen, of the Socialist Left Party, to nominate Gore as well as Canadian Inuit activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier before the nomination deadline expired Thursday.


"Al Gore, like no other, has put climate change on the agenda. Gore uses his position to get politicians to understand, while Sheila Watt-Cloutier works from the ground up," Brende said.


During eight years as Bill Clinton's vice president, Gore pushed for climate measures, including for the Kyoto Treaty, and after leaving office in 2001 has campaigned worldwide, especially with his Oscar-nominated documentary on climate change called "An Inconvenient Truth."


Watt-Cloutier won Norway's 2005 Sophie environment prize in 2005 for drawing attention to the effect of climate change and pollution on the traditional lifestyles of the Arctic's indigenous people and others.


National lawmakers are among the thousands of people and groups with rights to nominate Nobel candidates. Others include members of national governments, past laureates, members of the awards committee and its staff, and many university professors.


The secretive Nobel committee never comments on specific nominations, but members often note that anyone can be nominated. Last year, there were 191 nominations for the prize that went to Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank he founded to help the poor.


Other announced nominations for the 2007 prize include Vietnamese Monk Thich Quang Do and Sail Training International, a British-based charity helping young people develop through sailing.


The five-member Norwegian awards committee accepts proposals postmarked by February 1 and expects a rough count of nominations on February 12.


The decision is traditionally announced in mid-October, with the prize always presented on the December 10 anniversary of the death of its creator, Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel.


In 2004, the Nobel Peace Prize went to Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai, which Brende said shows the award committee's focus on ecological problems as a source of conflict.


"I think climate change is the biggest challenge we face in this century," Brende said.


Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.