Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize

If he's planning to parlay it into a White House run, he hasn't said anything like that yet.

Published October 12, 2007 11:39AM (EDT)

Al Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The former vice president -- the man who won the popular vote for the presidency in 2000 -- shares the award with the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change "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."

In citing Gore, the Nobel committee said:

"Al Gore has for a long time been one of the world's leading environmentalist politicians. He became aware at an early stage of the climatic challenges the world is facing. His strong commitment, reflected in political activity, lectures, films and books, has strengthened the struggle against climate change. He is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted.

"By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 to the IPCC and Al Gore, the Norwegian Nobel Committee is seeking to contribute to a sharper focus on the processes and decisions that appear to be necessary to protect the world's future climate, and thereby to reduce the threat to the security of mankind. Action is necessary now, before climate change moves beyond man's control."

Democrats hoping Gore will parlay the award into a presidential run will have to keep waiting. In a statement issued this morning, he said he was "deeply honored" to win the award but added nothing explicit about any political plans. To the extent there were tea leaves to be read in his statement, they weren't encouraging: Gore said that global warming is "not a political issue," and he said he was donating his share of the Nobel winnings to the nonprofit, bipartisan Alliance for Climate Protection.

At the White House, deputy press secretary Tony Fratto said: "Of course, we're happy that Vice President Gore and the IPCC are receiving this recognition." Of course they are. In another world -- a world in which Gore hadn't been free to spend the past six years working on climate change -- neither Fratto nor his boss would be working at the White House today.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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