Congrats to the IPCC and Al Gore
Everybody knows Al Gore, but fewer people realize that while he's the public voice of the battle against global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) does the real heavy-lifting.
When I was teaching and/or TA'ing environmental politics at WashU, and especially this past spring, I/we recommended students read the IPCC's work. Some of it is pretty technical, but if you really want the non-political, direct scientific evidence of climate change, and policy recommendations for what to do to mitigate the impacts of climate change and global warming, the IPCC is the penultimate source. While its findings have not been without criticism -- both from the global warming skeptics largely funded by certain industries, and from those who say the IPCC reports don't go far enough -- at least the IPCC has built some solid evidence of the enormity of the problem.
I kind of hope Al Gore does not run for President again, though. I did work in a very minor role on his campaign in 2000, including interning in a tiny office at Boilermakers' Hall on S. Broadway, leafletting the WashU and UMSL campuses for his speech at UMSL the night before the Missouri primary (remember Bill Bradley was still running pretty strongly against Gore at that point) and participating in canvassing trips for Gore sponsored by Dick Gephardt's campaign office to Burlington, Fort Madison, and Keokuk, Iowa prior to and on the day of the Iowa caucuses. It was fun, but since it was an unpaid internship and I was simultaneously doing a paid internship at CDA/SLDC and taking a full course load along with being active in several student organizations, I kind of burnt out on it as the semester progressed.
That said, I think at this point he is a more effective voice for getting Americans to understand how much impact we are having on the global ecological crisis. And though he's not perfect, he does get a lot of people (including celebrities who, like or not, do impact other people's opinions about the world) to take notice.
But I'm glad the IPCC got the top billing on the award.
Here's the notice from the Nobel committee.