The decision to give Al Gore half of the Nobel Peace Prize has generated the predictable rants from those who either dislike him or who don’t think climate change is a big deal. Uncommon Descent, “the Intelligent Design Weblog,” quotes William Gray, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University, calling Gore’s movie “ridiculous.”
But some academic criticism has popped up in less-expected corners. Over at Framing Science, American University’s Matthew Nisbet says that even though he’s a Gore supporter, he doesn’t like the way the former vice president has framed the climate-change issue by focusing on it as a crisis. That post earned Nisbet the title of “the Ann Coulter of science blogs” by one commenter.
Lisa Dilling, who studies carbon-cycle research at the University of Colorado at Boulder, says at Prometheus that “Mr. Gore has had a mixed record in his efforts on climate change.” While he helped raise awareness of global warming, he did little as vice president or as a presidential candidate to generate political action, she says. And his recent efforts haven’t focused on finding a solution to the problem. “We need to get past symbolic gestures and dramatic theater,” she concludes.
Likewise, Cass Sunstein wants attention paid to the details of global-warming policy. In his Open University post, he warns that those details will be daunting.
In The Chronicle’s coverage of the prize last week, Clark Miller, of Arizona State University, says Gore and President Bill Clinton made the political decision to work behind the scenes on global warming while they were in office. Now that Gore has come out of the climate-change closet, he has helped spur academic action on the issue. So far more than 400 college presidents have pledged to make their campuses “climate neutral” as soon as possible. The Nobel award last week will persuade even more to sign that promise, said Kathleen Schatzberg, president of Cape Cod Community College.