Plenty of people share the glory of the Nobel Peace Prize this year, including former Vice President Al Gore and at least eight University of Michigan professors.
The award, announced in Oslo on Oct. 12, went to Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The panel – a U.N. body set up in 1988 as concerns grew about global warming – has had the help of thousands of scientists.
Among them were Rosina Bierbaum, the dean of the University’s School of Natural Resources and Environment; Henry Pollack, emeritus professor of geological sciences; Joyce Penner, professor of atmospheric science; Natalia Andronova, research assistant in the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences; Maria Carmen Lemos, an associate professor at the School of Natural Resources and the Environment; and Ted Parson, professor of law and professor of natural resources and environment.
Kevin Trenberth – a lead author on panel’s the 1995, 2001 and 2007 reports – said he hopes the prize increases the impact of the explanations he and other scientists give to audiences ranging from town hall meetings to Congress.
“All the scientists that have contributed to the work of the IPCC are the Nobel laureates who have been recognized and acknowledged by the Nobel Prize Committee,” said Rajendra Pachauri, the Indian engineer who chairs the panel.
“They should feel deeply encouraged and inspired. It is their contribution which has been recognized,” said Pachauri. “I only happen to be a functionary that essentially oversees the process.”
Leo Meyer, a climate and energy specialist with the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, said the award underscores the panel’s role in encouraging policy makers to address the problem of climate change.
“There is still an important task of better explaining the findings of IPCC to a larger audience and this Nobel Prize of course helps to underline the credibility of the IPCC reports,” Meyer told the AP.
Piers Forster from the School of Earth and Environment at England’s University of Leeds said in a statement: “It’s every scientist’s dream to win a Nobel Prize, so this is great for myself and the hundreds that worked on their reports over the years. It’s perhaps a little deflating though – that one man and his PowerPoint show has as much influence as the decades of dedicated work by so many scientists.”
– The Associated Press and Karl Stampfl contributed to this report.
CORRECTION APPENDED: A previous version of this story misidentified Joyce Penner as Joyce Tanner.