In Oslo tomorrow the Nobel Institute will announce the winner of its 2007 Peace Prize. If, in a collective fit of madness, the committee is thinking of giving it to Al Gore for his efforts to alert the world to the 'threat' of 'global warming', they should have been given pause for thought by yesterday's ruling from a British High Court Judge.
By a delicious fluke of timing, Judge Michael Burton reminded the world that Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth, on the back of which the inconsequential former VP has ridden from failure and obscurity to worldwide prominence, is nothing more than a slickly presented collection of exaggeration, half-truths and outright lies.
Expanding on comments he made last week, the judge ruled that the film contained nine 'key scientific errors'. Most of these falsehoods ('errors' is being far too kind) are by now well known not only to sceptics, but to the alarmist politicians, pressure groups, celebrities and companies who cynically continue to employ them for their particular ends.
The falsehoods include, of course, the infamous claim of an imminent 20ft sea level rise, which even the IPCC's most pessimistic computer models don't come close to substantiating. Judge Hudson, with a politeness most of Gore's critics find hard to muster in the face of such blatant dishonesty, noted that the claim was 'not in line with the scientific consensus'.
Then there are the claims of drowning polar bears, and inundated Pacific atolls, neither of which the UK government's lawyers could present evidence for; Gore's assertion that the snows of Kilimanjaro are melting as a direct result of global warming, when several studies have shown that deforestation and local weather patterns are the likely causes; the unproven link between climate change and Hurricane Katrina; that 'exact fit' between graphs for CO2 emissions and global temperature that's nothing of a sort. And a few others.
Of course, anyone with a vaguely inquiring mind would have been well aware of these 'errors' when Gore was nominated for the prize back in February. But if the two Norwegian MPs who nominated Gore knew, they didn't let it stop them. And nor did the facts prevent the Nobel committee from accepting the nomination.
But let's imagine that Gore's film wasn't so shamelessly dishonest, and was in fact, grounded in fact. Even if mankind is responsible for unprecedented warming that threatens to create environmental chaos, and assuming that global warming might create theoretical security problems, the suggestion that alerting us to the risk somehow makes Gore eligible for the Peace Prize is something of a stretch.
The prize has traditionally been awarded to those who have campaigned to end conflicts around the world. According to the rules of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, the Peace Prize is awarded to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity among nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”.
While the contributions of some past winners – notably Yasser Arafat and Jimmy Carter – to world peace were negligible, if not downright counterproductive, they did, at least, pay lip service to the idea of resolving a conflict that was, at least, taking place.
Gore, on the other hand, would be the first recipient to be honoured for his efforts to avert a hypothetical future conflict. Presumably he and his acolytes have in mind conflicts between states over dwindling resources. Then again they could be worrying about an all-out war between the penguins and the polar bears over choice slabs of iceberg.
So Gore shouldn't even have been nominated, and if he actually wins the thing it will be a slap in the face to other nominees who have genuinely worked for peace, such as Irena Sendler, a Pole who saved more than 2,500 Jewish children from the Holocaust in World War Two, and Finland's former President Martti Ahtisaari. And they, by the way, were acting out of genuine humanity, rather than being motivated by self-interest and conceit.
It would also be an insult to the memory of every past winner (Arafat, Carter and a couple of others excepted), including Jean Henry Dunant, Founder of the Red Cross, Theodore Roosevelt and Martin Luther King.
It would be a disgrace. It would be as if the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had decided to award Gore the Oscar for best docu… Ah yes. There's a point. While we're on the subject of august bodies conferring illegitimate awards, and specifically conferring them on Al Gore, now that his magnum opus has been officially and spectacularly discredited I suppose it's too much to hope that the Academy might ask for their statue back. After all, my dictionary provides the following definition of 'documentary’:
(of a movie, a television or radio program, or photography) using pictures or interviews with people involved in real events to provide a factual record or report
Of course the Academy has much in common with the Peace Prize committee – both are largely staffed by left-leaning elites whose criteria for handing out prizes is the degree of hostility that nominees display towards America. But the Academy is already a joke, taken seriously only by itself and the rest of the self-absorbed Hollywood pack. The Nobel Peace Prize committee still has some credibility left – but tomorrow that could disappear as quickly as one of Al Gore’s icebergs.
Update: Jules Crittenden has some thoughts on the matter at Pajamas Media.