US vice president Al Gore and the UN's top climate panel shared the Nobel Peace Prize yesterday, in a major boost to the international campaign for action against global warming.
Gore, who has devoted his efforts to the environment since losing the 2000 US presidential election, said he was "deeply honored" by the award and spoke of the "planetary emergency" brought about by man's imprint on the climate.
The prize was jointly awarded to Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- a UN body of about 3,000 experts that highlights pollution causing steadily mounting global temperatures.
The Norwegian Nobel committee cited the recipients "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."
The committee said it wanted to contribute to efforts "to reduce the threat to the security of mankind. Action is necessary now, before climate change moves beyond man's control."
Gore, 59, is bound to attract most of the attention when the winners claim their US$1.5 million prize on Dec. 10.
He has helped put environmental issues -- and more specifically global warming -- at the top of the international agenda with his Oscar-winning film An Inconvenient Truth, based on years of lectures on the subject.
The Nobel committee described Gore as "probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted."
Gore said after hearing the news: "We face a true planetary emergency. The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity."
He said that the prize was "even more meaningful" as it was shared with the UN body, adding that its "members have worked tirelessly and selflessly for many years."
Some experts say Gore's campaign, the Oscar and now the Nobel Peace Prize could persuade him to make a last minute bid to secure the Democratic nomination for next year's US presidential election.
The White House yesterday praised Gore and the UN climate panel for winning the prize.
"Of course we're happy for vice president Gore and the IPCC for receiving this recognition," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said.
Meanwhile, British bookmakers cut the odds of Gore becoming the next president of the US and started to sweat.
The reason is that in winning the prize Gore has now satisfied two of the three conditions the bookies set for a 100-1 bet they had offered -- winning an Oscar, becoming a Nobel laureate and taking up residence in the White House.
After the Nobel award was announced, bookies cut the former vice president's odds of becoming the next US head of state to 8-1 from 10-1 -- although Senator Hillary Clinton remains hot favorite at 4 to 7.
"He seems to have the Midas touch and if his supporters encourage him to stand he may shake up the whole race," Ladbrokes spokesman Robin Hutchison said.
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