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Did Al Gore and the IPCC deserve the Nobel Peace Prize? Discuss.

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Shanta Barley | 17:41 UK time, Thursday, 9 July 2009

According to the eponymous Alfie, a Nobel Peace Prize should be awarded 'to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses'.


So what's it doing in the hands of Al Gore and the IPCC, wonders Dr Jon Barnett in the latest edition of the journal Climatic Change.

Sure, Gore and Co. opened society's eyes to the dangers of global warming, but climate change research has also given the world a jolly good excuse to gear up for war, he points out. War. As in the opposite of peace.

Why? Because an apocalyptic vision of climate-induced chaos is music to the ears of thumb-twiddling national security forces in the West, opines Dr Barnett, an associate professor at the University of Melbourne's Department of Resource Management and Geography.

'Security and defence agencies require problems to justify their continued existence in a world where the threat of war has diminished since the end of the cold war', Dr Barnett suggests. 'They seem to be appropriating the dangers of climate change to serve these institutional agendas'.

To illustrate his point, Barnett cites a report commissioned by the US military, which eagerly warned that climate change will 'potentially destabilize the geopolitical environment, leading to skirmishes, battles, and even war due to resource constraints'. (More money, please.)

Of course, none of this is the fault of Al Gore and the IPCC: they are but pawns in a wider geopolitical game. As Al Gore said in his Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech about something entirely different, 'we never intended to cause all this destruction, just as Alfred Nobel never intended that dynamite be used for waging war.'


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