From loser to laureate

The Nobel Peace Prize caps the redemption of Al Gore.

Don’t tell the Supreme Court, but Al Gore just won something. Last week, the former vice president and a panel of United Nations scientists were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to raise awareness about global warming. We believe their decision should be applauded. Climate change has quite a bit to do with peace, and if left unimpeded, experts at the U.N. Panel say, could cause resource wars, massive migrations and threaten the ability for the many parts of the earth to sustain life.

The award caps a remarkable redemption for Gore, following the Academy Award for his documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” an Emmy for his work with the viewer-created Current TV, and bestselling book “The Age of Reason.”

Once derided by President George W. Bush’s father as the “Ozone Man,” few public figures have seen their stock rise as sharply as Gore’s has. According to a poll by Time Magazine, 88 percent of Americans now see climate change as a problem that threatens future generations. Much of the credit for informing the public should be given to Al Gore.

While those on the fringe have already started their braying about how man-made global warming is a hoax, it is they, not Gore, who seem shrill and out of touch, unwilling to listen to honest, empirical scientific assessment.

It’s been a long seven years since the jokes about lockboxes and eye rolls seemed funny. Now the obvious question people will begin to ask is whether Gore will use this as springboard for an 11th hour entry into the presidential race. In his public appearances, Gore seems to be enjoying himself more than he did on the campaign trail in 2000, and those close to him seem to think he’ll be staying on the sidelines. But for many, a Gore presidency would satisfy a sense of cosmic justice that the man who lost the Supreme Court’s popularity test would come in and fix the messes President Bush will leave behind after he steps out of office.

Regardless of whether Gore runs, we hope that the next president shows more leadership than the current one on the issue of climate change.