WASHINGTON DC - The CEO of World Wildlife Fund, the world's largest environmental organization, said today that the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to former Vice President Al Gore and the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recognizes that climate change is one of the great destabilizing forces of our era and a root cause of some of the world's most violent conflicts.
"Climate change isn't just about the environment -- it's about people's livelihoods. The debate about whether humans are changing the climate is over. We must act with urgency to reduce emissions and stabilize the atmosphere because of the profound connection between climate change and political stability around the world," said WWF President and CEO Carter Roberts.
"Climate change creates natural catastrophes, disrupts weather patterns and undermines the natural resources upon which people depend around the world. Fixing this problem remains one of the fundamental challenges in achieving sustainable livelihoods, and ultimately peace," Roberts added. "Throughout his distinguished career, Al Gore has been a leader in bringing attention to the environmental challenges facing our world. WWF congratulates him and the members of the IPCC for this well-deserved honor."
Many of the world's most violent and longstanding conflicts have been the result of battles over natural resources. The continuing crisis in Darfur, for example, began in the 1980s as a dispute over water, and chronic water shortages now afflict virtually the entire Horn of Africa, where the UN estimates that more than 20 million people are at risk of starvation.
"Today we are risking irreversible changes to the very systems that sustain both natural environments and humans unless we alter our current patterns of energy use and slow and eventually stop deforestation," said WWF Climate Director Richard Moss, who also chairs an IPCC task group. "This award recognizes the seminal contribution of the IPCC in assessing climate science for policy makers. Al Gore has built on this record of accomplishment and helped the world understand what will be needed to confront the climate challenge."