In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech this morning in Oslo, Norway, Al Gore remarked that he shared a fate with Alfred Nobel — the creator of the Nobel Prize.
Gore noted that Nobel, who had been derided by the press as “The Merchant of Death” because of his invention of dynamite, later “made a fateful choice to serve the cause of peace”:
One hundred and nineteen years ago, a wealthy inventor read his own obituary, mistakenly published years before his death. Wrongly believing the inventor had just died, a newspaper printed a harsh judgment of his life’s work, unfairly labeling him “The Merchant of Death” because of his invention — dynamite. Shaken by this condemnation, the inventor made a fateful choice to serve the cause of peace. Seven years later, Alfred Nobel created this prize and the others that bear his name.
In his Nobel speech, Gore referenced the fact that seven years ago this week, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Bush v. Gore:
Seven years ago tomorrow, I read my own political obituary in a judgment that seemed to me harsh and mistaken — if not premature. But that unwelcome verdict also brought a precious if painful gift: an opportunity to search for fresh new ways to serve my purpose.
Unexpectedly, that quest has brought me here. Even though I fear my words cannot match this moment, I pray what I am feeling in my heart will be communicated clearly enough that those who hear me will say, “We must act.”
Watch a portion of Gore’s speech:
Gore said that seven years from now, if we fail to address the climate crisis, there is a chance that the North Polar ice cap will have vanished:
[T]he earth has a fever. And the fever is rising. The experts have told us it is not a passing affliction that will heal by itself. We asked for a second opinion. And a third. And a fourth. And the consistent conclusion, restated with increasing alarm, is that something basic is wrong.
We are what is wrong, and we must make it right.
Last September 21, as the Northern Hemisphere tilted away from the sun, scientists reported with unprecedented distress that the North Polar ice cap is “falling off a cliff.” One study estimated that it could be completely gone during summer in less than 22 years. Another new study, to be presented by U.S. Navy researchers later this week, warns it could happen in as little as 7 years. Seven years from now.
Read the full transcript of his speech HERE.