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Gore, Watt-Cloutier are nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for climate efforts

SHARE Gore, Watt-Cloutier are nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for climate efforts
Al Gore

Al Gore

OSLO, Norway — Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and Canadian activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier were nominated for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of their efforts to raise awareness about the threat of climate change.

"They are both key figures who put climate change on the agenda in global politics," said Heidi Soerensen, a Norwegian member of parliament, who made the nominations with fellow MP Boerge Brende. "The threat to the climate is so important that if it isn't solved, it could lead to huge conflicts as people fight over access to water and land."

Scientists from institutions including the Norwegian Polar Institute say carbon-dioxide emissions from cars, power plants and other human sources are causing temperatures and sea levels to rise, leading to storms, droughts, heat waves and other climate disruptions. This year is forecast to be the warmest on record globally, with temperatures in 2007 likely to be 0.54 degrees Celsius above the seasonal average, the U.K.'s Met Office said last month.

Gore, 58, last year published the book and documentary film "An Inconvenient Truth" as part of a campaign against global warming. Watt-Cloutier, 53, a spokeswoman for the Inuit people in the Arctic, has called for countries such as the United States to cut emissions of so-called greenhouse gases thought to cause global warming.

"Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth' helped open the eyes of many people, particularly in the U.S., to the threat of climate change," Soerensen said in an interview today. "Watt-Cloutier has also been successful in putting a human face to climate change, by showing how it affects the Inuit people."

Nominations for this year's peace prize, which is awarded by the five-member Nobel Committee in Oslo, must be submitted by today, said Geir Lundestad, director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, in an interview today. A final tally of the number of nominations may be ready by Feb. 12, he said.

Candidates' names are kept secret by the committee, though some are made public by those making the nominations. Of the 191 nominations last year, 168 were for individuals and the rest for organizations.

The prize has often gone to people working to end armed conflicts or fighting for democratic rights. The awarding of the prize to Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai in 2004 marked a shift in how peace efforts may be interpreted.

Bangladesh's Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank won last year for advancing social and economic development by giving loans to the poor.

The winner of the $1.4 million prize will be named in October. The award is formally handed out at a ceremony in Oslo on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death in 1896 of Alfred Nobel, a Swedish industrialist, who set up prizes for achievements in peace, physics, medicine, chemistry and literature in his will.