Oslo: Already topping the international agenda, the fight against global warming and activists such as Al Gore could take home this year’s Nobel Peace Prize when it is announced on Friday, observers say.
Gore, a former US vice president, and another climate change campaigner, Canadian Inuit Sheila Watt-Cloutier, are believed to be among the favourites as the Nobel committee hunkers down to select a winner among the 181 candidates nominated for this year’s award.
Other possible Nobel winners in the same field are the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), gathering the world’s top climate scientists, and its chairman Rajendra Pachauri of India.
Since the end of the Cold War in 1989, the world has entered “a new era”, said Jan Egeland, the head of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, noting there is now “50% more peace”, or fewer wars, in the world.
“For the first time there are less than 1 billion people living on under $1a day, more mouths fed, more children vaccinated than ever before,” he said.
“The one really big cloud on the horizon is the climate change cloud. Because that will reverse all of this unless there are much bigger efforts to curb emissions and adapt,” the former UN emergency relief coordinator said.
Gore, 59, who served as vice president under Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001, helped propel global warming to the top of the international agenda with his 2006 film “An Inconvenient Truth,” which received an Oscar for best documentary.
In March, the head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Ole Danbolt Mjoes, attended a presentation by Gore in Oslo. Less known to the public is Watt-Cloutier, 53, also a die-hard defender of the planet.