The Nobel Message

The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the UN's Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change sends a powerful message about the importance of global scientific efforts in addressing the challenges of the twenty-first century. Now that effort should be extended to for other global challenges, including the global loss of biodiversity, desertification, and over-fishing of the oceans.

Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize is a fitting tribute to a world leader who has been prescient, bold, and skillful in alerting the world to the dangers of manmade climate change. Gore’s co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize is less known, but no less deserving. The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN’s global body for assessing the scientific knowledge on climate change and bringing that knowledge to the attention of the public and the world’s policy makers. Its receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize sends three powerful messages.

First, the world’s leading climate scientists and most of the world’s governments have brought climate science to the forefront of global policy debates. Climate change is complicated. Mastering the subject requires expertise in many scientific fields, including climatology, oceanography, atmospheric chemistry, ecology, engineering, politics, and economics. No lone scientist or national team can do this. A worldwide effort is needed to understand changes in all parts of the world.

Since its inception in 1988, the IPCC has harnessed the best scientific minds from around the world to document and explain what is known and not known about human-induced climate change. Various working groups prepare reports by scrupulously reviewing scientific publications. The review process is transparent and governments are invited to participate by nominating experts to various working groups, reviewing and commenting on IPCC draft documents, and approving final IPCC reports.

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