Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and the U.N. climate panel won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize today for their international work as crusaders for climate change.
Gore's panel walked away with the Nobel nod — and $1.5 million prize — over 181 other nominees.
During today's news conference at his California-based nonprofit, the Alliance for Climate Protection, Gore thanked the Nobel Committee and said he was "deeply honored" to share the award with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
"I will be doing everything I can to understand how to best use the honor and recognition of this award as a way of speeding up the change in awareness and the change in urgency," Gore said.
Gore announced his intent to donate his share of the Nobel award to his bipartisan nonprofit and reiterated his environmental charge speaking to the "urgency of the climate crisis."
"It is the most dangerous challenge we've ever faced, but it is also the greatest opportunity we've ever had to elevate global consciousness on the challenges that we face now," said Gore.
In its award statement, the Norwegian Nobel Committee called Gore "one of the world's leading environmentalist politicians" and said in awarding the former vice president and the IPCC it seeks "to contribute to a sharper focus on the processes and decisions that appear to be necessary to protect the world's future climate, and thereby to reduce the threat to the security of mankind. Action is necessary now, before climate change moves beyond man's control."
While the eight Democrats vying for the presidential nomination scramble around the country seeking the office he aspired to as many years ago, Gore's 2007 has been a breezy stroll down the red carpet, and a near endless loop of will-he-or-won't-he speculation surrounding a potential second run for the White House.
For the former vice president's legion of grass-roots supporters, the suspense has been agony as they wait for the "Gore-acle" to divine, what they deem to be, an infallible political future.
After the Oscars, the Emmys, the release of yet another book and the Live Earth concerts on July 7, Friday's long-awaited, much-anticipated Nobel Peace Prize announcement could provide the most "climatic" and climactic opportunity to date for the Democratic presidential nominee of 2000 to announce White House intentions for 2008.
Former Gore strategist Chris Lehane said though his former boss's entrance to the presidential race would be more than fashionably late, he "would be uniquely positioned" if he chose to contest the Democratic nomination.
There are, Lehane said, "few people like him in name ID, with a base of support, who have the experience of having run before," all qualities that "would allow him to get into the game much later than anyone else."
Still, Lehane cautioned, "There are a couple basic logistical challenges," particularly fundraising, staffing and "items as simple as qualifying for the ballot."
For the most part, Lehane dismisses the notion of a Gore candidacy.
"Never say never in politics," Lehane said, but insists Gore is "happy and comfortable with where he is right now, appreciates that he is having a huge impact, and recognizes once you become a candidate that changes."