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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gore Wins Nobel for Climate Work

PALO ALTO, California -- Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, newly named co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, said Friday that he hoped the honor would "elevate global consciousness" about the challenges of global warming.

Gore was awarded the prize Friday along with an international network of scientists for spreading awareness of man-made climate change and laying the foundations for counteracting it.

Shortly after being named the winner, he said he would donate his half of the $1.5 million prize money to the Alliance for Climate Protection, a bipartisan nonprofit organization that is devoted to changing public opinion worldwide about the urgency of solving the climate crisis.

"This is just the beginning," Gore said. "Now is the time to elevate global consciousness about the challenges that we face."

Gore had been widely expected to win Friday's prize, which expanded the Norwegian committee's interpretation of peacemaking and disarmament efforts that have traditionally been the award's foundations.

"We face a true planetary emergency," Gore said. "The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity."

The Nobel committee chairman, Ole Danbolt Mjoes, asserted that the prize was not aimed at the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush, which rejected Kyoto and was widely criticized outside the United States for not taking global warming seriously enough.

Two Gore advisers, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to share his thinking, said the award would not make it any more likely that he would seek the presidency in 2008.

If anything, the prize makes the rough-and-tumble of a presidential race less appealing to Gore, they said, because now he has an international platform to fight global warming and may not want to do anything to diminish it.

"Perhaps winning the Nobel and being viewed as a prophet in his own time will be sufficient," said Kenneth Sherrill, a political analyst at Hunter College in New York.

Gore, who was an advocate of stemming climate change and global warning well before his eight years as vice president, called the award meaningful because of his co-winner, calling the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change the "world's pre-eminent scientific body devoted to improving our understanding of the climate crisis."

In its citation, the committee lauded Gore's "strong commitment, reflected in political activity, lectures, films and books, [which] 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."

The last American to win the prize, or share it, was former President Jimmy Carter, who won it 2002.

At the time, then-committee chairman Gunnar Berge called the prize "a kick in the leg" to the Bush administration for its threats of war against Iraq. In response, some members of the secretive committee criticized Berge for expressing personal views in the panel's name.

Mjoes, elected to succeed Berge a few months later, referred to that dispute Friday, saying the committee "has never given a kick in the leg to anyone."